All-Delco baseball: Mathes brothers shared in Marple’s special season
In addition to Player of the Year Ricky Collings, the All-Delco team includes:
Cameron Mathes, Marple Newtown: The junior pitcher/infielder and Collings formed a potent 1-2 pitching punch that accounted for six postseason wins in eight games. Mathes earned three of those victories, part of a 8-2 record with a 2.61 ERA and one save. He battled through six strong innings in the District One Class AAAA second-round survival at Coatesville. He allowed two earned runs and struck out six in seven stellar innings in the District One playback semifinal at Perkiomen Valley. Mathes won Marple’s states opener, a complete-game effort (seven strikeouts, three hits, two earned runs) against District 3 champion Ephrata. All told, he allowed 44 hits in 62 innings, striking out 58 batters against just 12 walks. Mathes also hit .313 for the Tigers with 25 hits, 17 runs scored and 12 RBIs, playing shortstop or third base on days he didn’t pitch.
Cameron Miller, Haverford School: The depth of the Fords pitching staff eased the burden on Miller, but he emerged as the staff ace, posting a 6-2 record in 10 appearances with a team-best 1.67 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 54.2 innings. Miller won his last four decisions and went 3-1 in Inter-Ac play. His surge started with a 3-2 win over Springside Chestnut Hill April 27, a complete game. He hurled complete-game shutouts against Episcopal Academy (3-0) and Germantown Academy (7-0) in consecutive starts, the latter a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts. Miller struck out 10 in a six-hitter against St. Joseph’s Prep. He kept the Fords in the game against Springside Chestnut Hill in the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association quarterfinals, surrendering two runs in 6.1 innings in a game that the Fords would win in eight innings en route to the championship. Miller struck out 60 batters against 17 walks this season. Miller will continue his studies at Boston College.
Jason Lincoln, Interboro: Some seasons are so impressive as to be undeniable. The Interboro senior compiled such a campaign. Lincoln posted a ludicrously low 0.35 ERA in 39 innings, leading the Bucs to the top seed in the District One Class AAAA field and a 19-1 record. Lincoln went 7-1, allowing a paltry four runs (two earned) on the season. He struck out 34 batters. Lincoln tossed three shutouts, twice blanking district playoff participant Academy Park and once against Glen Mills. He tossed seven innings of two-hit ball, surrendering his only earned run of the regular season against Cardinal O’Hara in a 3-1 win April 16. He also held his own in the first round of districts, giving up one run in four-plus innings in a 3-0 loss to eventual district champs Pennridge. Lincoln will continue his career at Penn State Brandywine.
Kyle Virbitsky, Episcopal Academy: The junior infielder/pitcher seemed to summon his best on the mound this season. For an EA team missing its presumed ace, Virbitsky was a vital cog in the rotation of a team that navigated a difficult schedule to finish 16-15. Virbitsky was 9-1 on the season, posting a 1.76 ERA in 59.2 innings pitched. He posted a WHIP of 0.88 and struck out 66 batters. He had a knack for coming through in big games, with six of his wins occurring in games decided by two runs or less, vital for the inconsistent Churchmen offense. He worked all seven innings in a 3-2 win over Penn Charter April 13, gutted through five innings for the decision in an upset of Malvern Prep, 6-5, on April 27 and shut out Germantown Academy, 3-0, May 20. He also notched an extra-inning win over Springside Chestnut Hill in relief, accounting for four of EA’s five league wins. With the bat, the Penn State-bound infielder belted three home runs and finished fifth on the team in RBIs (11) and second in runs (17).
Christian Bateman, Sun Valley: Despite the Vanguards enduring a six-win season, the junior infielder/pitcher undeniably shined. He won the Delco batting title with a .547 average, finishing second in the county in hits with 41 in just 19 games. He scored 20 runs, was 12-for-12 in stolen base opportunities and doubled five times. He also didn’t strike out all season. On the mound, he notched a 3-4 record for a team that stumbled after a 3-0 start, but he was usually outstanding when he took the ball. In 47 innings pitched, Bateman posted a 1.94 ERA, striking out 62. His best day may have been May 4 in a 7-2 win over Avon Grove, where Bateman went all seven innings, allowing two unearned runs and striking out 12. He also went 4-for-5 at the plate with a double (one of five on the season) and a triple.
Tommy Toal, Haverford School: The junior second baseman was the spark at the top of the order that ignited the Fords’ attack. Toal batted .402 with a team-leading 39 hits and 35 runs scored in 32 games. He reached based at a .543 clip and only struck out 12 times in 129 at-bats. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.028 was third-best on the Fords. Toal supplied two hits and an RBI in a 2-1 win over Strath Haven April 13, scored three times in an 8-5 victory over Marple Newtown March 24 and doubled among three hits and three runs in topping Father Judge, April 16. Toal has committed to play at La Salle University.
Jared Morris, Springfield: The junior emerged as the ace for a talented but young Springfield team, though his work with the bat was equally impressive. On the mound, Morris went 5-0 with two saves, posting a 1.75 ERA and striking out 51 in 36 innings. The big righty walked only 10 batters. He tossed a 1-0 shutout against Conestoga April 27 in which he drove in the only run. He also beat the Pioneers in the District One Class AAAA first round, going four innings in a rain-shortened 4-3 affair in which drove in two runs with what proved to be the game-winning home run. At the plate, Morris led Springfield with 24 hits and was tied for the team lead with 15 RBIs. He batted .364 with six extra-base hits, scoring 13 runs and posting an on-base percentage of .473.
Alden Mathes, Marple Newtown: The freshman centerfielder assembled a rookie campaign that’s difficult to top. Mathes was the driving force of the Tigers lineup from the leadoff spot, batting .449. That works out to 44 hits in 28 games as the Tigers earned a share of the Central League title and qualified for the PIAA Class AAAA semifinals. He was among the county leaders with 13 extra-base hits, including eight doubles and a Delco-best four triples. He scored 30 runs, drove in 13 and posted an OPS of 1.143. Mathes tripled, homered and drove in three in an April 21 win over Ridley. Even in the states ouster at the hands of Plum, Mathes went 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Andrew Austen, Radnor: The senior outfielder took to the mound after the Raiders’ 0-5 start and helped them rebound to the District One Class AAA title and PIAA quarterfinals. Austen, who was born without a forearm, wrist and hand on his right arm, went 6-0 with two saves, posting a 2.50 ERA in 42 innings. His regular-season wins included triumphs over Class AAAA playoff qualifiers Marple Newtown and Strath Haven, and he got the W in the PIAA Class AAA opener against Bishop McDevitt. He was also on the mound for the final out in the District One title game win over Upper Moreland, notching the save and fittingly fielding the final out. Austen powered the Raiders lineup, batting .328. He was third on the team in hits (22) and tied for second in runs (18) and RBIs (11). He also provided stable defense in center field and, when Connor Wilson returned from injury, right field. Austen will continue his studies at the College of Charleston.
James McConnon, Haverford School: The senior catcher put together an outstanding season, but he took it up a notch in the playoffs, leading the Fords to the PAISAA title. McConnon clubbed a walk-off home run in the quarterfinals over Springside Chestnut Hill, provided two RBIs in the semifinal win over Perkiomen School and keyed the eighth-inning rally in the final over Malvern Prep with the game-winning RBI. For the year, the big bat in the middle of the Fords lineup battled .402 with 12 doubles and 14 extra-base hits. He was tied for third on the Fords with 30 RBIs and 28 runs scored. In 32 games, McConnon collected 37 hits, second on the Fords, and posted a team-leading 1.091 OPS, including a .504 on-base percentage. All that offense was in addition to his deft handling of a Fords pitching staff that tallied 24 wins with a staff ERA of 2.59. The four-year starter will continue his career at Saint Joseph’s University.
Steve Furman, Bonner & Prendergast: Offense wasn’t always easy to come by for the Friars, but the senior two-time All-Delco was usually at the center of it. Furman led the team in batting with a .362 average and was second on the team with 21 hits. He reached base at a .479 clip thanks to 11 walks against just five strikeouts in 73 plate appearances. Furman was second on the team with 11 RBIs. He doubled twice and drove in two runs in a 7-6 win over regular-season Catholic League champion Father Judge in April, then collected two RBIs as the Friars tipped the Crusaders, 5-3 in eight innings, in the Catholic League tournament quarterfinals. Furman added three hits in a 3-2 win over Conwell-Egan. In addition to his bat, the Iona-bound catcher provided a seasoned eye behind the plate in handling a young pitching staff that featured just one senior yet still posted a team ERA of 2.82.