At first glance, rising Pennridge senior Andrew Mayhew is not an imposing presence on a pitching mound.
A 5-foot-9, 140-pound righty, Mayhew could easily be mistaken for an underclassmen and opposing hitters who don’t know better have no idea what’s coming. But when Mayhew takes his signs, sets and delivers, it all makes sense real fast.
Able to touch 90 and consistently throwing high 80’s, Mayhew has had a very strong summer, pitching well in some high-profile showcases and setting up his baseball future when he committed to Millersville.
“It’s given me a lot of confidence for the future and in being more of a leader on the team next year and more confident on the mound,” Mayhew said.
After missing about a month of the high school season with some soreness in his pitching arm, Mayhew came back strong and has been rolling ever since. He helped Pennridge win its first district title since 1987, aiding the SOL American/Continental team win its first-ever Carpenter Cup, playing a part in Pennsylvania’s 2-1 series win over Maryland in the Big 26 Baseball Classic and continuing to pitch well with the PA Shockers.
In the Carpenter Cup and Big 26, he joined forces with some of his familiar foes from the SOL Continental, combining talents with a common goal of winning. The Carpenter Cup team also provided Mayhew the experience of pitching in Citizens Bank Park, a moment he won’t soon forget.
“I took the whole experience, it’s not often you get a chance to play at Citizens Bank for a game, let alone two,” Mayhew said. “One moment that will stick with me is when I got to make the run in from the bullpen. I thought that was probably the coolest part of the whole thing.
“Our conference was absolutely stacked with pitching. Me, (Souderton’s Aaron) Gulibon, (CB South’s Dan) Klepchick, Colin (Kennedy from Hatboro-Horsham) and we had (Springfield’s Nick) Pave from the American who came in and threw strikes. We were dealing.”
Mayhew was a part of the Carpenter Cup last year as a sophomore, one of the young guys on the team but was more comfortable this year. Much of that was due to the work he put in last summer and through the fall and winter.
With his build, Mayhew has to be careful how and where he puts on weight and builds strength. His power and velocity doesn’t come from arm strength, but more the total use of his body. To most efficiently do that, the right-hander did a lot of core and leg strengthening work last offseason and it paid off this season.
Mayhew said he was a big fan of the way Roy Halladay threw using his entire body and not just relying on his arm, something he’s tried to emulate as he’s grown and gotten stronger.
“My arm acts more like a whip, I generate all my power from my legs and my core,” Mayhew said. “That’s what you need to do; you need to use your legs and your core with your entire body.”
After Danny Long played in the Big 26 series last year, he told Mayhew it was definitely a worthwhile venture and when the pitcher got the email regarding tryouts for the Pennsylvania team, he was in. The tryout was in two stages, the first with players in the eastern half of the state in one place and players from the west in another, then selected participants moving on to a second and final single group tryout at Shippensburg.
Like he had been all summer, Mayhew threw a lot of strikes and made the squad along with Kennedy and North Penn’s Matt Stevenson with North Penn head coach Kevin Manero also serving as an assistant coach for the PA squad. All three SOL guys had great series and Mayhew enjoyed the chance to get to know Manero better, the two already sharing a mutual respect.
“It’s always great getting to know a coach from another team and pick their brain a little,” Mayhew said. “We all bonded really well over the three days we were there.”
Maryland beat PA in the first game, setting the tone and giving the PA players who hadn’t been there before all the incentive they needed to come back and win the series.
“After the first game, we knew what we were getting into,” Mayhew said. “They didn’t like us so we came back in games two and three, showed fire, got under their skin a little and it seemed to work.
“They don’t know what you have and with me being so small, they don’t expect it coming from a little guy. That’s what I like to play to my advantage when facing new competition.”
Mayhew has a couple tournaments left with the Shockers, then he’ll go into shutdown mode for the fall with his coach not wanting him to touch a ball again for a few months. The righty feels that’s a good decision, giving his arm some time to rest while he continues to work on getting stronger in the weight room.
On the hill, Mayhew said he’d like to develop a consistent third pitch to go with his fastball and slider. He’s thrown a curve and changeup and wants to find an off-speed pitch he can mix in for strikes and to keep hitters off-balance.
He has desired to play baseball as long as possible for a long time and the last two seasons have helped cement Mayhew as a definite college-caliber prospect. The task was finding the right fit and that came at Millersville.
The Marauders advanced all the way to the Division II championship series in 2016 but the quality of baseball was just a part of what drew Mayhew to the Lancaster County university.
“Coach (Jon) Shenan is a great coach, he’s built a winning program there, he had me up for a visit and when I stepped on campus it felt like home,” Mayhew said. “He said I could come in as a freshman and work immediately to try and be part of the rotation or come out of the bullpen and make an impact right away.”