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Weather can’t dampen Barrett Game awards ceremony

ASTON >> For the first time in 34 years, the Joseph J. Barrett Memorial All-Star baseball game was cancelled.
The field was water-logged with rain.

But in true Joe Barrett fashion, the ceremony went on as scheduled Sunday at Neumann University, the board of trustees and fans recognizing the scholarship honorees, the award winners, the players and the people who have kept alive the charity event celebrating the late Delco baseball icon.

“We want to thank all the volunteers, the board members, the umpires, the photographer, the players and the sponsors,” said board chairman Patti Langdon, daughter of Barrett. “We’ll be back here next year.”

The Barrett Memorial scholarship winners took center stage. Both receive $3,000 scholarships from the foundation.

First baseman Jared Korenkiewicz of Sun Valley is headed to West Chester University to play baseball and major in exercise science.

“It’s a lot of money for school,” Korenkiewicz said. “And for me, I want to be a physical therapist so that’s like seven years of school I’m looking at. I’m really excited about this. It’s been a real cool experience. I wouldn’t say I’m a lucky guy but I’m lucky to get this.”

The other scholarship winner, pitcher-outfielder Ryan Buck of Conestoga, will attend Maryland, where he wants to walk on in baseball and major in aerospace engineering.

“I did alright in SATs,” Buck said. “I was better with the ACT. I got a 33 (out of 36). This is the first thing I’ve won that has like a monetary value to it and that was really cool. I’ve been named to all-star games before but to be rewarded with an actual scholarship is really cool — and humbling.”

The Cakey Dougherty-Jumbo Faulkner high school player of the year award went to pitcher-slugger Luke Zimmerman of Marple Newtown.
Tigers coach Mark Jordan got the John Mooney coach of the year award.

Zimmerman sparked Marple Newtown (21-2) to its third straight PIAA playoff appearance, in dramatic fashion. It’s been an unforgettable season, and then some for Zimmerman, who along with his teammates begin state tournament play Monday at Neumann agaisnt Boys Latin High.

“Definitely these last few playoff games have been real exciting,” said Zimmerman, who launched a walk-off home run and a go-ahead triple in the playoffs. “Everybody crowding home plate and all that stuff after it, that’s definitely something I’m always going to remember. Everyone just went crazy.”

Zimmerman has no bigger fan than Jordan, who calls his ballplayer “unbelievable.

“He’s 9-0 and he’s had leads in his other two starts so he could really be 11-0,” Jordan said. “Of our 21 wins, he has over half of them. He pitched every tough game we had and he dominated in a crazy fashion. His ERA is 0.75. He’s just been dominant. And he’s been dominant with the bat. He’s had three walk-off hits for us this year. Just clutch hits and clutch pitching. He’s done it all for us. He talks the talk and he walks the walk. Saint Joseph’s has gotten a steal. He’s going to be a big-time player for Saint Joseph’s University.”

Jordan is just the second two-time winner of the Mooney award, joining Paul Begosian of Haverford in 2007 and 2009. Jordan took the honor in 2010 with Marple Newtown, under similar circumstances.

“We were 18-2 and we had a powerful pitcher, Chris Kirsch,” Jordan said. “Now we’ve got a powerful guy, Luke Zimmerman. It’s kind of funny how it parallels. It’s been a fun ride. Seventeen straight wins this year is hard to do. We’ve done that. We won the Central League title. We came up just short in the district title against Henderson. It’s been a great year. Sometimes you have great years like this. Everything kind of falls in place and you gel. Everyone finds their roles and it goes smoothly. And some years it doesn’t. This year has been a magical ride for us.”

Jordan doesn’t think the Tigers would be where they are now without coaches Brian Leon, Jim Ross and Jim Balk, the latter Jordan’s long-time pitching coach, mentor and friend.

“I should probably put Jim’s name on this plaque, too, and share it with him,” Jordan said. “He’s probably sitting on a couch somewhere watching a Cubs game.”

Speaking of plaques, Langdon honored the board of trustees with personalized commemorative bats. The crew of volunteers included treasurer Joe Hammonds, Tom D’Alonzo, John Spano and David Splain.

Langdon was disappointed the game couldn’t go on but wouldn’t second-guess the tough decision to move the contest from Saturday to Sunday. The trustees got the favorable weather they hoped for Sunday but the field didn’t cooperate. Rain from the prior evening turned the home plate area into a quagmire, the outfield into a swamp and that phase of event into a downer.

“It was predicted to be a washout,” Langdon said. “So, we said we shouldn’t do it. It’s the first time in 34 years we’ve had to cancel it. But we got to do the opening ceremonies and honor the scholarship winners. Dad would still be proud of us.”

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