Faso a hit in Barrett Game victory for Central stars

CHESTER — Ben Faso’s eyes got big as the fastball approached. He stepped into the pitch, unleashed a violent hack and … popped it up to end the sixth inning of the 31st Annual Joseph J. Barrett Memorial All-Star Game at Widener University.

“I was trying to drive something,’ Faso said, “I’m not going to lie.’

The Garnet Valley All-Delco outfielder was already well on his way to an MVP performance in the Central League’s 12-2 victory over the Del Val League. Faso finished 3-for-4 with three runs batted in and scored a run. He knocked in the first two runners of the game with a line-drive single in the first inning. In the third, he smashed a double off the base of the left-center-field fence. Both hits came off Malvern Prep’s Brandon Inglis, the Cakey Dougherty/Jumbo Faulkner Award winner as Pitcher of the Year.

“He had a great curveball,’ Faso said of facing Inglis. “I don’t know why he didn’t throw more to me. I would’ve been lost. But I saw two fastballs and I got him.’

Inglis, a Lehigh-bound lefty, surrendered four hits and five runs in three innings of work, while uncorking four wild pitches.

Faso, on the other hand, continued to rake. His single in the fifth started a threed-run, two-out rally for the Central League. It also earned him a coveted fourth at-bat courtesy of Jaguars’ head coach Rudy Shiller, who managed the winning team.

“Yeah,’ Faso said, “He was trying to help me pad my stats a bit.’

The attempt was good, the result not so much.

“That’s what can happen when you swing hard,’ Faso laughed. “You pop it up.’

The sequence of events epitomized the Barrett Game. Most players received one or two plate appearances at most to accommodate everyone in the lineup. But Shiller saw Faso was swinging a hot bat. He wanted to give his star a chance to put an exclamation point on his high school career.

“It means a lot,’ Faso said of winning the MVP. “To represent the Central League and to get this win … it feels great and I’m happy.’

The individual award was one bonus; the opportunity to wear Garnet Valley’s colors again — and win — was another. The Jaguars started the season 2-6 only to rally for an improbable District One playoff spot. They defeated Central Bucks East in the first round before dropping a heartbreaker to West Chester Rustin in the second round.

“We had a tough loss to Rustin in the districts,’ said Faso. “To be honest that’s all I’ve been thinking about for the last week. So this is a high note that we can end on instead.’

Faso will continue his baseball career first for Concord of the Delco League this summer then at La Salle in the fall. For most of the players at Widener Saturday, though, the Barrett Game marked the end.

Players such as Radnor’s Sean Correlli. Corelli pitched two scoreless innings and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run-scored at the plate. The two-time All-Delco will attend Pittsburgh University, where he’s unlikely to play baseball.

“It was a fun day,’ Corelli said. “I’m glad I could come out here with my high school jersey on one more time. Playing with all of these guys added to it all. I’m happy to win, and to win by 10.’

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NOTES: Interboro’s Anthony DiNacola took home The John Mooney Award as Delaware County Coach of the Year. His Bucs won the Del Val League and earned the No. 1 overall seed in Class AAAA for the District One Tournament. Sean Menold and Kyle Yousif each collected singles Saturday representing Inteboro — not bad considering prom was Friday night … Haverford High’s Kevin Clancy and Chichester’s Johan Kok received the John J. Barrett Scholarship worth $2,000 each. Clancy walked and stole two bases in the game. Kok went 0-for-1 with a walk.

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