SPRINGFIELD >> Cameron Mathes wishes he had been able to pitch for those five weeks he was shut down with an arm injury
On the flip side, the Marple Newtown senior and Villanova signee is feeling healthier than ever as the Tigers gear up for the District 1 Class 5A playoffs next week.
“It was a bit of an arm thing,” Mathes said Monday, “but it’s 100 percent better now. I feel great.”
MN coach Mark Jordan had Mathes return to the mound May 4 against Penncrest. He pitched six strong innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits with four strikeouts, as the Tigers claimed a two-run victory. Against Springfield, Jordan let his ace righthander fly.
Mathes tossed a complete game six-hitter with five strikeouts as Marple Newtown recorded a 5-2 win. The loss by the Cougars prevented them from winning the Central League title outright. Instead, Springfield will share the championship with Garnet Valley and Harriton as all three teams ended the regular season with four conference losses.
Getting the chance to spoil Springfield’s party was nice, but MN was more concerned about righting its ship prior to the district tournament.
“We were definitely thinking about that, but most of all, we know we have to get on track for playoffs,” Mathes said. “We lost two games last week, so we needed a win here. That was big.”
The All-Delco Mathes was on cruise control until the seventh inning. Mathes hustled to make a catch in foul territory, extending his glove over Springfield’s dugout fence. It was a play that everyone on the field had given up on, except for Mathes.
Layne Kelly hit a run-scoring single to make it a 5-1 game. The next batter, Dave Bingaman, reached on an error by third baseman Scott Hahn, but first baseman Luke Zimmerman had the wherewithal to retrieve the wild throw and fire a strike to catcher Brian Protesto at home plate to nab Morris, who was trying to score Springfield’s third run.
Mathes, who threw 97 pitches, would have been removed from the game had the game continued. The heady play by Zimmerman enabled Mathes to go the distance.
“I was using my curveball and hitting my spots pretty well,” he said. “It certainly helps to have great fielders behind me.”
Marple Newtown certainly flashed some hot leather throughout the day.
Corey Woodcock made a miraculous diving catch in right field to rob Jared Morris of extra bases in the fifth inning. Woodcock got on his horse, ranged to his right and dove for the ball with full extension.
It was a thing of beauty.
“I saw it right off the bat,” Woodcock. “Maybe I didn’t expect to catch it right away, but then I started going for it. I jumped up and I got it.”
After Woodcock’s highlight-reel snag in the outfield, shortstop Kevin Merrone made a leaping grab at shortstop for the third out.
Woodcock hit a seeing-eye single up the middle to knock in a pair of runs in the fifth inning off Springfield’s Dave Strawley, who relieved Mike Smith after Smith allowed back-to-back single to begin the frame.
Alden Mathes scored two runs and Luke Cantwell collected a single and a sacrifice fly for MN.
“We were coming into the game just looking for a win because we’ve been kind of staggered this year with our wins and losses,” said Cantwell, a junior outfielder. “Did I want to spoil it Springfield? It really wasn’t on my mind. I wanted to win this game and get ourselves ready for playoffs. But it does make it better to know they didn’t party on the field afterward.”
Smith had four strikeouts and allowed three earned runs in his four-plus innings of work. Six Springfield players had one hit apiece. Matt Lupoli (three RBIs) and Liam Bendo (two) each went 3-for-4 and Dom bertone was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
Elsewhere in the Central League:
Garnet Valley 8, Haverford 0 >> Will Wesolowski pitched a no-hitter with nine strikeouts as the Jaguars clinched a share of the Central League title.
Strath Haven 4, Radnor 3 >> Casey Rosier’s RBI single in the sixth inning capped a three-run rally and put the Panthers in front to stay. Brendan Ricciardi was 3-for-3 and Evan Atsaves chipped in with two hits for Haven. Will Carey pitched three innings of relief for the win.
Ridley 8, Upper Darby 0 >> Jason Liberio twirled a four-hit shutout with seven strikeouts. James Becker slugged a two-run double and Nick Pellegrino finished with two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.
In the Del Val League:
Interboro 26, Chester 0 >> The Bucs (15-2, 14-1) wrapped up their third consecutive Del Val championship. Matt MacMullen scored four runs and Mike Ventura collected two hits and three RBIs.
Chichester 19, Penn Wood 4 >> Jason Riberio crushed a grand slam and finished 2-for-2 with six RBIs for the Eagles (13-4, 12-2). Will Long added three RBIs and Matt Dwyer ended the game with a two-run single in the third inning.
Academy Park 6, Glen Mills 5 >> Despite giving up five runs, the Knights no-hit the Bulls behind the pitching of starter Matt Thomas (11 Ks) and reliever Zach Cleary. AP scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh as Taylor Moors coaxed a bases-loaded walk to bring in the winning run.
In the Ches-Mont:
Sun Valley 8, Kennett 1 >> Tyler Ungarino’s second double of the day brought home three runs and busted the game open for the Vanguards (5-14). Richie June tossed six three-hit innings with five Ks and All-Delco Christian Bateman was 2-for-3 with a double.
In the Catholic League:
Cardinal O’Hara 2, La Salle 1 >> Jim White won the game for the Lions with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh. O’Hara starter Brian Bromley allowed only three hits over six solid innings.
Archbishop Carroll 2, Father Judge 1 >> James Kelly scattered five hits and fanned six in a complete game performance as the Patriots finished the regular season tied atop the PCL standings with Neumann-Goretti and St. Joseph’s Prep.
In the Bicetennial League:
Delco Christian 11, Church Farm 1 >> Tyler Rossini tossed a five-inning complete game with 5Ks and helped himself at the plate with four RBIs. Freshman Brett Tanis was 3-for-3 for DC.
In nonleague action:
Caravel (Del.) Academy 12, Episcopal Academy 8 >> Despite a seven-run bottom of the seventh, a 12-1 deficit was too large for the Churchmen to overcome. Dylan Everly stroked a three-run triple and Cam Van Hoorebeke had a single, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Top photo: Marple Newtown catcher Brian Protesto shows the umpire the ball after tagging out Springfield’s Jared Morris to end the Cougars’ seventh inning comeback. MN’s 5-2 win kept Springfield from clinching the Central League title outright (Photo by Pete Bannan)