Wayne 6, Upper Darby 0

Mathes Brothers Lead Wayne Past Upper Darby in Game 5

Joe Greenwich, DelcoLeague.com
 
DEVON – One of the hallmarks of the success that both Wayne and Upper Darby have enjoyed in recent years is continuity; Wayne has reached four of the last five Delco League Championship Series, Upper Darby has made three in a row, and the two have now met in a pair of memorable five-game bouts over the past two seasons.
 
When Wayne's Brian Fili and UD's Dave Jerdon have the luxury of putting the same names in the lineup every day – for instance, 2023 Delco League Most Valuable Player Christian Strickland caught 27 of 28 regular season games for the Blue Sox, while you could say that the league's Cy Young winner, Johnny Gonzalez, pitched in 143 games for Upper Darby this summer and it would be impossible to say you were lying – it leads to the continuity and team culture that breeds annual appearances in the final games of the season.
 
In Fili's case, he's been able to put the same name in the lineup two or three times a game this season, and the Mathes brothers – Cam, Alden, and Owen – rewarded him day in and day out with the kind of performances that lead a team to 31 wins and a league title.
 
Call it "the Gift of the Mathii."
 
All three of the brothers made their presence felt in this year's championship series, with Cam and Alden carrying Wayne past Upper Darby, 6-0, in Saturday's decisive Game 5 at Devon Prep.  With the win, Wayne locked up its second consecutive Delco League title, its fourth in five years, and its 19th in club history.
 
Wayne took an early lead through some smallball as Alden Mathes was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Luke Zimmerman in the bottom of the first inning.
 
For a while that looked like all the defending champs would need, as Cam Mathes continued a stretch of championship series dominance over the last two seasons that rivals anything anyone has put up in the century-plus history of the league.  A second-inning single by Steve Theisen and a walk to Joe Suppa in the top of the fifth accounted for the only base runners the eldest Mathes allowed on the day.  Some strong defense at third base from the youngest, Owen – a stalwart at the hot corner throughout the series – prevented the single from turning into anything more, and catcher Matt Kane caught a runner stealing to end the threat in the fifth.
 
In the bottom of the fifth, Wayne added some breathing room.  Kane led off and reached via an error for the third time in the series before a single by Alden Mathes left runners at the corners.  Matt Briner laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to bring home a run before Zimmerman followed with a two-out single to score Mathes and push the lead to 3-0.
 
Owen Mathes then led off the sixth with a single and scored on a triple by Kane.  Alden Mathes then followed with the knockout blow, a titanic home run that hit the roof of the new fieldhouse that serves as the right field wall at the revamped Devon Prep baseball field, to push the lead to six.
 
Cam Mathes followed with a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out the final two hitters of the game, to finish off the series.  He faced one over the minimum in seven innings; adding on his three perfect innings at the start of Game 2, he earned series MVP honors for the second consecutive season – a Delco League first – with 10 shutout innings, one hit allowed, one walk, and 10 strikeouts.  Over the past two seasons, he made five appearances in the championship series, posting a 4-0 record and allowing five base runners and zero runs to go with 18 strikeouts over 20.2 innings.
 
Colby McNeely got the start for Upper Darby and allowed just the one run without a hit in two and two-thirds, bridging the gap to Johnny Gonzalez, who tossed the final three and a third innings in his fourth appearance in the series.  The only Blue Sox pitcher to appear in more than one game, Gonzalez recorded 17.2 out of Upper Darby's 32.0 innings pitched.
 
Alden Mathes went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two driven in on Saturday, while Zimmerman was 1-for-2 with two runs batted in.  Mathes hit .500 for the series, with Zimmerman checking in at .438; the former state title winners at Marple Newtown combined for 10 runs scored and 14 RBI as the offensive catalysts for another title.
 
The win gave Wayne its 19th Delco League title, the most in league history.  It's also the sixth crown over the last 10 seasons for Fili, ranking him second in league history behind Lou Soscia, who won nine titles with Tinicum A.C. between 1971 and 1984.