Matt Campbell is the ace of the Palo Alto Oaks' pitching staff and and is as reliable as he is consistent when it comes to getting the job done.
Campbell usually starts the first game of the Oaks' Sunday doubleheaders and, most often, comes away with a victory. Campbell was twice as good this past weekend.
Campbell won both ends of the doubleheader as the Oaks swept the El Cerrito A's at Baylands Athletic Center in Palo Alto on Sunday while improving to 6-0 this season.
In the first game, Campbell pitched six innings and gave up only one hit and one unearned run while striking out 12. The scheduled nine-inning game ended with the mercy rule with the score 11-1.
Will Klein knocked in three runs with a double and single for the Oaks. Nick Borg had a double and a triple, and Alex Sortwell had two doubles.
In the second game, the Oaks started newcomer Graham Rodriguez. He pitched four innings but didn't factor into the decision.
In the fifth, El Cerrito got things going after a hit batsman led off the inning. That was followed by a single from the leadoff hitter. Palo Alto coach Steve Espinoza brought in reliever Jason Kleinhoffer, who struck out the next batter. A fly ball to short right was caught by second baseman Borg, who made a spectacular catch and play, doubling up the runner at second.
El Cerrito tied the game in the next inning with a pair of runs. Kleinhoffer worked his way out of the sixth, but got into trouble in the seventh when the Oaks committed another error that was followed by a walk.
Campbell let Espinoza know that he could go, if needed, and that's all Espinoza needed to hear. With a left-hander coming up, the switch was made. Campbell promptly struck out the lefty and, after a walk, the bases were loaded. Campbell ran the count to full and the Oaks were within one pitch of losing the game, but Campbell induced a groundout to first base.
In the top of the eighth, Sortwell came off the bench to pinch-hit for Sam Wilkens. Sortwell dropped a perfect drag bunt for a base hit. That was followed by a single by Borg and the Oaks had runners on first and third with nobody out.
An intentional walk was followed by a full-count walk to Joe McGlaughlin. A fielders' choice on a grounder hit by leadoff batter Evan Warner plated the final run for the Oaks. All Campbell had to do was complete the bottom half of the inning to record the second win. Campbell struck out the first two and a fly to center ended the game 5-3.
The Oaks scored their runs in the third when Allen Stiles drove in Brian Maihack with two outs. In the fifth, Borg singled with two outs and that was followed by an error by the El Cerrito left- fielder. McGlaughlin then doubled them in to put the Oaks up 3-1.
Palo Alto will be back in action on Sunday at Baylands against longtime rival Fontanetti's, starting at 11:30 a.m.