Bishop Foley claims first title since 2013 behind Campbell's shutout
East Lansing – Justin Campbell remembers his time in middles school watching the success of Madison Heights Bishop Foley’s on the baseball diamond as the Ventures won three consecutive state titles from 2011-2013 and had aspirations of achieving similar success when he reached the high school level.
And on Saturday afternoon, Campbell got his chance.
Campbell would toss a complete game shutout, leading Bishop Foley to a 3-0 win over Traverse City St. Francis as the Ventures won the Division 3 title for the first time since 2013.
Second year Bishop Foley head coach Greg Fettes said that Campbell’s performance on Saturday was nothing out of the ordinary for his senior ace.
“That’s Campbell in a nutshell right there,” he said. “That’s the guy you’re going to get day in and day out and that’s why I love when he’s on the mound. I’m going to be extremely sad to see him go, but I know he’s off to bigger and better things at Tulane and I know they’re getting one heck of a pitcher.”
After laboring through the first inning, where he allowed three hits but no runs, Campbell settled down and would cruise through the St. Francis lineup until allowing two baserunners in the seventh inning with two outs.
Campbell said that after struggling a bit in the first inning, he was able to make an adjustment on his arm slot when throwing the ball, which made a big difference for him for the remainder of Saturday’s game.
“I had to change my arm slot, my arm slot was too high when I was throwing my fastball and it was too flat,” he said. “I didn’t have my velocity as much today and I wasn’t locating very well, so when I brought my arm slot down, I was able to locate better and I was able to make them miss more with the movement. I was also messing with my curveball a little bit, I didn’t have enough spin on my curveball and I was able to tighten it up and make it break a little harder.”
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Bishop Foley would break the scoreless tie as senior Mason Minzey would connect for a two-RBI triple to give the Ventures a 2-0 lead. Not long after, Campbell would help his own cause with an RBI single to bring home Minzey and push the lead to 3-0.
That would be more than enough run support for Campbell, who recorded eight strikeouts in his seven innings of work, while allowing just three hits in the win for Bishop Foley (25-12-1).
Campbell said that he admired the standout pitchers that Bishop Foley has had over the years, specifically former star Garrett Shilling, who never suffered a loss on the mound for the Ventures and was recently drafted by the Colorado Rockies and was excited to be the latest pitcher to lead Bishop Foley to a state title.
“I’ve always aspired to be like Garrett Shilling, the guy has been my idol for a very long time,” he said. “I mean he left Foley without a loss – that’s impossible – I dreamt of doing things like that. Being drafted in the 18th round, I look up to him so much, I want to do everything he does, the guy is fantastic, pitching in the regional of the College World Series.”
St. Francis (38-4) starter Casey Peterson kept Bishop Foley off balance for much of Saturday’s game, allowing three runs on seven hits for the Gladiators.