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East Haven SportsBeat: Living the Dream

The local athletes that are in — or are on their way to — the Major Leagues.

[Note: Want your photos and/or write-ups from East Haven youth or recreational sports in featured on East Haven Patch? ]

Two weeks ago, James Campbell was just another player on a college team few had ever heard of. On Friday afternoon, the graduate of in Trumbull will be on the field when the NCAA rips the wrapping off the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Stony Brook, the Cinderella team of baseball's big dance, takes on UCLA in the first round of the tournament and the junior pitcher will probably be pinching himself to see if all of what's happened to him recently is real or fantasy. Campbell has achieved more in the past 14 days than most players ever accomplish in their careers. Check out the run of good fortune for the 2009 All-FCIAC selection and captain of St. Joes:

  • Named Most Outstanding Player in America East Championships.
  • Helped Stony Brook beat baseball Goliath, LSU, in the regionals.
  • Drafted in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Will play in the NCAA College World Series.

In 18 appearances this season, Campbell was 5-0 with a 3.09 ERA. The right-hander told the Greenwich Times about achieving his dream of getting drafted, "The next step is to get through the College World Series, but after that, I'm excited to start my pro career," said Campbell. "I'm excited to be a Dodger. I've got to work hard. Nothing's going to come easy. The ultimate goal is to make it to the top, so I'm going to do my best."

LJ Mazzilli's ultimate goal is to get to the Major Leagues, as well. The Greenwich resident and UConn second baseman was drafted in the ninth round by the Minnesota Twins. During his junior year for the Huskies, LJ, the son of former MLB player and manager, Lee Mazzilli, hit .339 with nine home runs and 38 RBI's. For his career, little Maz batted .334. "I'm excited to be drafted by a good organization — a great organization," Mazzilli told The Hartford Courant.

is making the Texas Rangers organization proud. The former Branford High School and UConn star it tearing up the Texas League (AA). In his last 10 games, Olt is hitting .333 with four home runs and 12 RBI's. The former first-round pick of the Rangers leads the Texas League with 19 home runs and 55 RBI's in 61 games.

, a graduate, continues to be impressive in his first season of professional baseball. The first-round pick of the is dominating single A hitters in the first three months of the season. After making five starts in the South Atlantic League, Barnes was promoted to the Carolina League and he's been brilliant.

Playing for Salem, Barnes is 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA. In 41 innings, Barnes has struck out 44 and walked just seven. In 12 starts between the Carolina and South Atlantic League, Barnes is 6-1 with a 0.93 ERA and has struck out 86 hitters while walking just 11. Opponents are hitting just .180 off Barnes.

could be on the verge of earning a promotion to AA. Over the last 10 games, the former star is hitting .308 playing for the Detroit Tigers' single-A affiliate in the Midwest League. The hard-hitting catcher currently ranks fifth in the league with a .297 average.

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