Upper Darby 7, Wayne 6

No ifs, ands or Mutz about this win for Upper Darby

From the Daily Times posted 7/4/2019

By Matt Smith This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. @DTMattSmith on Twitter

A bit disheveled, Ben Mutz hurried to the mound in the seventh inning Wednesday, called upon to save the game for Upper Darby.

His warm-ups were not great. Twice he airmailed a pitch to the backstop, but the recent PSU-Brandywine graduate was able to collect himself and focus on the task at end.

“I was amped up and ready to go in,” said Mutz, whose half-tucked-in jersey top was covered in dirt from his time at the plate and in right field. “I use my emotions to help me pitch, and in a spot like that I kind of like the pressure. It makes me pitch well.”

Mutz entered in relief for Bryan Pazulski, who was Cardinal O’Hara’s staff ace this past spring. Pazulski struggled with his command in the seventh and left with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Mutz’s first job was to retire his cousin, Brady, who greeted him with a fly ball to center field. The sacrifice fly made it a one-run game, then Ben Mutz retired the next to hitters to seal Upper Darby’s 7-6 win over Wayne.

“Brady’s my little cousin and (Wayne shortstop) Luke is my little brother, so that brought a little bit of drama to the situation,” Ben Mutz said. “I really wanted to beat them. It’s fun doing it in the Delco League. Every time we play against each other, we always look forward to it. It’s awesome to play against them.”Brady Mutz, an All-Delco catcher from Strath Haven, will begin his freshman year at Monmouth University this fall. Luke Mutz is a rising sophomore at Swarthmore College. The Mutz boys all played their high school ball for Wayne manager Brian Fili at Strath Haven.

“The future is great for Brady at Monmouth as well as for Luke at Swarthmore,” Ben Mutz said.

The Blue Sox (14-8-1) retained sole possession of first place in the Delco League standings. Wayne had gone 7-2-1 in its previous 10 games to overcome an un-Wayne-like start. Wayne sits in second place, six points behind Upper Darby, but with four games in hand.

“We had them on the ropes a few times,” Fili said. “We have a good mixture of young guys and veterans, like Dan Williams and Matty Briner and some other ex-college guys. We also have some really good young guys like Brady, Alden (Mathes) and Cam (Mathes). There’s not that many three-or four-year out of college guys playing any more. The league continues to get younger, but that’s good for the league. This is the kind of game you’re going to see in the playoffs.”

Upper Darby scored three runs off Wayne starter Cam Mathes (Marple Newtown/ Villanova). Christian Strickland smacked an RBI double and Tyler O’Shea knocked in a pair of runs with a single. Joey Suppa smashed a two-run homer off Mathes in the third inning to make it 5-1.

Strickland, the catcher for the Blue Sox, is a second- year Delco League player. The St. Elizabeth (Del.) product and Chichester resident will play college ball at Cabrini. Strickland homered off 2019 Daily Times Player of the Year Alden Mathes to give UD a 6-4 lead after Wayne had trimmed its deficit to one.

“It’s a lot of fun playing with these guys and it’s good to see this type of competition,” Strickland said. “I’m a lot younger than a lot of these guys

and I’m being taught a lot, especially with my catching where I’m learning how to pitch around these guys. It’s been fun.”

Wayne made Upper Darby starter Ben Thorpe (Springfield H.S./Elizabethtown College) work for his outs. Sean Mohollen (Strath Haven/York) doubled and scored on a single by Luke Mutz in the second. Briner added an RBI single and Luke Mutz worked a basesloaded walk in the third, then Alden Mathes singled, stole base and scored on a passed ball in the fourth to make it a one-run Upper Darby advantage.

Alden Mathes relieved his brother Cam in the fourth and allowed a homer by Strickland and an RBI single off the bat of Vince Gasbarro. The Mathes boys combined for 10 strikeouts on the night.

Mathes coaxed a walk in the seventh inning to re-load the bases with two gone. Ben Mutz closed the door by getting Ed Paparella to ground out softly to first base.

“Wayne’s a great team and they have some of the best players in the league,” said Ben Mutz, who had two singles and a walk. “It’s nice to beat them and it’s a big win for us.”