Wayne 1, Upper Darby 0

Delco League: Gonzalez keeps defeating age, though Wayne proves one better

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TREDYFFRIN — Pitcher Johnny Gonzalez isn’t sure how much longer he will keep taking the ball, the veteran Upper Darby hurler having celebrated his 49th birthday last week.

But with every start turning into an adventure, Gonzalez hasn’t completely ruled out pitching into his 50’s in the Delco League.

Gonzalez had plenty of juice Friday, as he allowed just one run and four hits while striking out three in a complete-game effort that ended in a 1-0 loss to undefeated Wayne.

Gonzalez retired the last 10 batters he faced. Forty-nine of his 70 pitches were strikes. That he held his own against 18-year-old Anthony Ehly, who scattered four hits and fanned four in five shutout innings to get the win, became another quirk of nature.

Ehly was watching. More on that in a few.

Also impressed were the Wayne hitters. Even when they got Gonzalez in trouble by loading the bases in the third inning on consecutive hits by Shrikar Thota, Christian Thack (bunt) and Luke Mutz with no outs, Gonzalez got Matt Briner to hit into a run-scoring double play and retired the next batter to get out of the frame.

At that point Wayne hitters were sharing notes on how Gonzalez was getting them out. Gonzalez was killing it with a changeup that made his fastball look faster, along with a slider, a cutter and even a two-seam fastball.

“The fastball was pretty good,” Gonzalez said. “I picked my spots. I had a pretty good catcher (Christian Strickland). I told the catcher ‘You call it, I’ll throw it whether it’s in or out.’ I only threw 70 pitches. We hit our spots. People, they tend to swing out of their shoes. I had two good pitches working.”

 

The defending Delco League champion Blue Sox (5-3) didn’t get a runner past second base against Ehly and Joe Peluso.

Scouted by a couple of college coaches, Ehly continued to dominate with a slider and a changeup, the latter of which got better as the game wore on. It’s no coincidence the changeup improved as the recent Abington grad conceded he couldn’t help but watch Gonzalez.

“Just how he used his off-speed stuff and not just his fastball,” Ehly said. “My father is 46. It was crazy. I definitely was watching what he threw, when he threw it and stuff like that.”

Wayne elevated to 11-0, designated hitter Sean Mohollen pulling double duty as the manager with Brian Fili away on business.