Malvern Prep is your 2008 Inter-Ac League baseball champion. Let the excitement be tempered.

Late yesterday afternoon, with most of the players having already departed after practice, coach Mike Hickey received a cell-phone, last-inning, blow-by-blow description, by way of his assistant, Dan Moyer, of Germantown Academy's game at Chestnut Hill Academy.

The result: 4-2 win for CHA.

The effect: a clinched crown for 8-0 Malvern.

"Some of the seniors were still around, doing maintenance on our field like we always do after practice," Hickey said. "There wasn't any great big 'Hooray!' It was more like, 'Oh, GA lost?' "

Weather permitting, the Friars today will host Penn Charter (6-3). Monday (and that's a switch from Tuesday), they're still scheduled to host GA (5-3) for the final portion of a game that actually was completed May 6 as a 4-2 GA victory.

Because of a rules violation involving the use of pitchers, GA offered to resume the game in the home sixth with two out and runners on first and third. It's possible the resumption will now be scrapped.

"I don't know how to feel that GA's loss makes us the winner," Hickey said. "I do know it'll make them stronger for next year. It's not the end of the world for them. GA has a ton of talent. It's just that they're young."

CHA senior righthander Mike Mattei, bound for West Chester to play quarterback, scattered eight hits and went 2-for-2 with a double and three RBI.

"He's such a competitor. Refuses to back down," Hickey said.

This is Hickey's fifth title, and third outright (also 2001 and '02). His teams shared the crown in '06 and '07.

"This league is so competitive," he said. "You're never surprised by what happens. I say that every year, but it's true." *