CSN proves it’s more than phenom Harper

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — It might come as a revelation to some, but Bryce Harper is not the lone star-caliber hitter on the College of Southern Nevada baseball team.

Marvin Campbell, Trevor Kirk and Gabe Weidenaar stepped out of the shadows Saturday. Each player homered in the Coyotes’ 13-5 first-round victory over Pitt (N.C.) Community College in the Junior College World Series.

Harper, a 17-year-old freshman catcher, is expected to be the No. 1 pick in next week’s major league draft.

“This team has a bunch of guys who are going to get drafted,” CSN coach Tim Chambers said. “I’m guessing at least 10, and they’ve dealt with Bryce being the focus all year.”

The Coyotes (50-14) face Faulkner (Ala.) State (38-19) at 1 p.m. today in the double-elimination tournament. The field of 10 was reduced to eight Sunday after Pitt and the State College of Florida were knocked out.

Harper turned in a solid performance in the opener. He went 2-for-4 with two singles and a walk, scored three times, stole a base and threw out a runner attempting to steal second.

But Campbell, a sophomore from Las Vegas High School, struck the biggest blow with a three-run homer in the second inning. It was his 13th home run, which topped CSN’s previous single-season record of 12. It’s not Campbell’s record, though, because Harper has 29 homers.

“He looked good at the plate,” Chambers said of Campbell, batting .305 with 64 RBIs. “When he gets a hit, it’s usually like that one. He’s had a few big ones. A lot of people don’t realize it when they look at Bryce’s numbers, but Marvin beat the home run record, too.”

Kirk, a right fielder from Silverado High, went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, and Weidenaar had four of the Coyotes’ 14 hits.

“You can’t say enough about Trevor,” Chambers said. “He has played well the last two weeks.”

Chambers started Weidenaar at third base and put seldom-used Josh Demello in center, where Weidenaar often plays. Weidenaar had two errors, but Demello went 1-for-3 with a double.

“Demello’s our best defender in the outfield. He has some speed and a very good arm. He just had a rough year with the wood (bats),” Chambers said.

The toughest decision facing Chambers is his starting pitcher. He will go with either left-hander Bryan Harper (10-1, 2.18 ERA) or right-hander Joe Robinson (9-1, 2.62).

Harper has pitched in 15 games, five in relief. He warmed up Saturday but wasn’t needed because starter Donn Roach was able to finish the eight-inning game.

“I think I’m going to start Bryan,” Chambers said.

Bryan Harper was a senior at Las Vegas High when Bryce was a freshman.

“I love playing with my brother. That was just a blast in high school,” Bryce Harper said. “My brother is really intense. He’s going to come right at you and he has that (screw) you attitude.”

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907.

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