Despite some arm injuries and a young roster, GAMP earned its fourth straight appearance in the PIAA state baseball playoffs. Today at 4:30 p.m., the Pioneers will take on Christopher Dock in a Class A first-round game at Richie Ashburn Field in South Philadelphia.
GAMP, the District 12 champion, is trying for its first state victory. Last year's squad lost to Delco Christian, 5-0. It played "up" in AA the previous two seasons, losing to St. Pius X, 7-1, in 2006 and Springfield (Montco), 13-11, in 2005.
Dock goes into today's game as a considerable favorite. The District 1 titlist is 17-5 and the tri-champion of the Bicentennial Athletic League big-school division, and has plenty of playoff experience. Dock won Class A state crowns in 2005 and 2006.
"It's baseball," GAMP coach Art Kratchman said. "You never know what can happen. We're going for the win. We're not looking to keep it close."
GAMP is led by first baseman/pitcher Christian Matticks and shortstop Foster McCoskey, both seniors. Matticks, a No. 3 hitter, has eight home runs and 30-plus RBIs. Batting in the cleanup spot, McCoskey is hitting close to .400 and has 20-plus RBIs.
The other senior leader is centerfielder and No. 2 batter Jon Sheridan. Senior outfielder John DiStefano, nursing a broken wrist, can serve only as a pinch-runner. Junior catcher Eugene Aversa bats fifth.
"We started to really hit the ball toward the end of the regular season," Kratchman said. "Defensively, we've gotten a lot better."
Kratchman will send the righthanded McCoskey to the mound against Dock. The team's No. 2 hurler is freshman righthander Dom Raia.
Kratchman has coached against Dock before. In 1982-83, he was the skipper of BAL rival Devon Prep.
Malvern Prep's Mike Lubanski, a junior catcher, has been invited to the prestigious East Coast Professional Baseball Showcase at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.
Six major-league teams sponsor the August showcase. Lubanski, a Wake Forest recruit, will be part of the Los Angeles Angels squad. Last year, more than 200 college recruiters attended the event.
Lubanski, who helped Malvern Prep to a 40-3 record and an outright Inter-Academic League championship, will participate this month in the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minneapolis.
For St. Joseph's Prep, which won its second straight Catholic League championship last week, second baseman Brett Tiagwad batted .486 with a .565 on-base percentage, 32 runs, 23 stolen bases and 12 RBIs.
The Prep's other catalysts were pitcher Kyle Mullen (8-2 record with two saves, 1.43 ERA, and 46 strikeouts in 49 innings), first baseman/pitcher Aaron Haas (.403 batting average, 6-0 pitching record with a 1.80 ERA), and shortstop Tim Edger (.400 batting average, .506 on-base percentage, 26 runs, 19 RBIs, 14 stolen bases).
For Sun Valley, senior outfielder/pitcher Pat Sheridan is batting .446 (25 for 56) with a .478 on-base percentage, 27 RBIs and 18 runs. On the mound, he is 5-0 with a 1.47 ERA. Teammate Sam Farnell, a junior second baseman, is hitting .437 (31 for 71) with 27 runs, 24 RBIs and six home runs. . . . The leaders for Chestnut Hill Academy were infielder/pitcher Mike Mattei (.561 average, .636 on-base percentage, 36 runs, 34 RBIs, 8-2 pitching record with 73 strikeouts), catcher Steel Russell (.582 average, .607 on-base percentage, 39 RBIs, 23 runs), and centerfielder Jon McAllister (.505, .608, 24, 41). . . . Monsignor Bonner's Rob Benedict and Lou Tomasetti batted .441 and .390, respectively. Teammates Pat Warrington (.381) Bob Callan (.379) were close behind.