All-Delco Baseball: Full house of aces answer county-wide call to arms

In addition to Daily Times Player of the Year Kyle Virbitsky of Episcopal Academy, the rest of the All-Delco team includes:

James Kelly, Archbishop Carroll: The senior righthander was the stopper for a Carroll team that placed third in the Catholic League and was ranked No. 1 in Delaware County for several weeks. Kelly’s tremendous campaign earned him Catholic League Most Valuable Player honors. In nine games started, Kelly posted impressive stats across the board. He allowed just 42 hits in 49 innings of work while fanning 48. Kelly went 6-2 with a 2.00 ERA on the way to helping the Patriots (14-7, 9-3) qualify for the Catholic League postseason. One of Kelly’s best performances was a two-hit shutout of Bonner & Prendergast in April. He will continue his career at La Salle.

Cameron Mathes, Marple Newtown: The senior pitcher/infielder was limited to hitting and fielding only for more than a month due to a lingering arm injury. However, once Mathes returned to the mound in time for the stretch run, he was virtually unbeatable. Without Mathes back on the bump, it’s hard to fathom the Tigers would have advanced to the second round of the state tournament. He won five of his eight starts, including a gem in the District 1 Class 5A championship. He held Springfield to one hit over six innings, with eight strikeouts, to lead Marple to its first district title in baseball. Mathes struck out 45 in 45 1/3 innings and finished with a 1.39 ERA. The two-time All-Delco is bound for Villanova.

Jared Morris, Springfield: The senior ace improved upon his All-Delco junior campaign, as his work on the mound enabled the Cougars to earn a piece of the Central League title and come within two victories of a state championship. On the bump, Morris was a bulldog. He tied for first in Delco in wins (eight), second in earned run average (1.59) and strikeouts (74). The Neumann recruit was stellar in the state playoffs, allowing just one run over three appearances. He hurled a masterpiece in the Cougars’ 2-1 loss to Greater Latrobe in the PIAA Class 5A semifinals (one earned run in six innings). In five postseason starts, the All-Central League pick fanned 25 in 23 2/3 innings and limited teams to two earned runs (0.60 ERA).

Springfield pitcher Mike Smith walks off the mound triumphantly after the final out of his complete game as Springfield downed Strath Haven, 3-2, in the District 1 Class 5A quarterfinals Wednesday. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Mike Smith, Springfield: Smith was a perfect complement to Morris at the top of the Cougars’ rotation. The senior lefthander posted a 5-2 record with a 2.10 ERA en route to earning All-Central League recognition. Smith did some of his best work in the postseason. He twirled a complete game in a state playoff-clinching victory over Strath Haven. In the second round of the state tourney, Smith had the best game of his life. He entered in relief of Morris and tossed six masterful innings of no-run ball against District 3 champion Cedar Cliff, then delivered the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 10th inning to send the Cougars into the semifinals.

Tim Dougherty, Bonner & Prendergast: On a team that struggled to score runs, Dougherty was Mr. Reliable. Opposing pitchers knew they could neutralize Bonner’s bats if they could retire Dougherty, which was easier said than done. In his senior campaign, the All-Catholic League first baseman batted .429 with power. He collected six doubles and five triples on the way to helping the Friars make the PIAA Class 4A playoffs. Dougherty, who will play collegiate ball at NCAA Division II champion West Chester University, finished with 22 RBIs. Displaying good plate discipline, Dougherty also coaxed 11 walks.

Jim White, Cardinal O’Hara: The sophomore third baseman was second in Delco with a .448 batting average. Hitting in the No. 3 spot all season for first-year coach Tom Grandieri, White excelled against Catholic League competition (.513 average) and was tied for first on the team in RBIs (18) and runs scored (19). In one of O’Hara’s most impressive wins of the season, an 8-2 decision over Episcopal Academy, White went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and five RBIs. White’s exploits resulted in All-Catholic League honors.

Liam Bendo, Garnet Valley: The senior shortstop was one of the most dynamic players in the county. Bendo hit .405 with a .462 on-base percentage and a team-leading .691 slugging. The All-Central League selection produced at the plate and in the field and helped the Jags to an 8-0 start. While the team hit the inevitable rough patch in their schedule, Bendo stayed consistent. In helping the team qualify for the District 1 Class 6A postseason, Bendo paced the club in extra-base hits (15) and tied for first with 18 runs scored. A member of the Philadelphia Bandits travel organization, Bendo will play collegiately at St. Joseph’s University.

Scott Hahn, Marple Newtown: The senior pitcher/third baseman was the Tigers’ top two-way threat in 2017.

Marple Newtown’s Scott Hahn excelled on the mound as well as in the field and at the plate for the District 1 Class 5A champion Tigers (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

Hahn was a workhorse on the mound and a threat to do damage every time he stepped to the plate. In 45 innings (eight starts), Hahn posted a 1.71 ERA for the District 1 Class 5A champion Tigers (18-8). Hahn belted a three-run homer in Marple’s 13-1 rout of Unionville in the district quarterfinal, finishing 4-for-4 with five RBIs. Hahn led the Tigers in most offensive categories as he hit .359/.419/.474 with two homers and 22 RBIs. He will continue his career at Cabrini.

Mason Miller, Garnet Valley: The junior outfielder was a key cog in the middle of a dangerous lineup at Garnet Valley. Miller displayed five-tool ability and caused plenty of havoc for the Jaguars. Miller, who garnered All-Central League honors, led the team in batting average (.439) and RBIs (27) while ranking second in hits with 25. The left-handed hitting Miller posted a .475 on-base percentage to go with a .684 slugging.

Bryan Hyland, Haverford School: In terms of offensive production, no one in Delco had a better 2017 season than Hyland (and it wasn’t close). The senior catcher started hot in March and never cooled off. In 33 games — the Inter-Ac plays significantly more games than PIAA schools — Hyland paced the Fords in batting average (.447), hits (46) and RBIs (46). He was the third-leading hitter in terms of batting average in Delaware County and belted eight home runs. During his four-year varsity career, Hyland accumulated 115 hits while knocking in 104 runs. Said Haverford School coach Bob Castella: “Bryan was our team MVP this season. He was one of the best hitters in the Inter-Ac League, as well as Delaware County.” Hyland will continue his career at Cornell.

Will Carey, Strath Haven: Perhaps no player meant more to his team’s success than Carey. The senior pitcher/first baseman was the staff ace and top power presence for the Panthers. In 58 innings, Carey recorded a 2.53 ERA with 58 strikeouts and only 11 walks. He was the recipient of poor run support in a handful of his eight starts. In one of the biggest upsets of the year, Carey blanked fourth-seeded Harriton on three hits with six strikeouts in the quarterfinal round of the District 1 Class 5A playoffs. With the bat, Carey slugged .450 and ranked first on the team in extra-base hits (six doubles, two triples, one homer). He finished with 18 RBIs and 18 runs scored. Two coaches from rival Central League schools nominated Carey for Daily Times Player of the Year honors.

Top photo: Archbishop Carroll ace James Kelly. 

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