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Sam Carchidi | Mainland's Law chip off old block

At Mainland High, near the Shore in Linwood, the Law family continues to write one of South Jersey's most remarkable baseball stories.

At Mainland High, near the Shore in Linwood, the Law family continues to write one of South Jersey's most remarkable baseball stories.

It started with Jonathan Law, a Mainland standout in the 1960s who later played at Monmouth, and continued with his three sons, Jason, Ian and Charles.

Like their father, Jason and Ian were baseball stars at Mainland and in college - Jason at Monmouth and Ian at Lafayette. Ian is now playing professionally with the Atlantic City Surf.

Charles Law, a Mainland junior, is the youngest of the group.

And arguably the best.

The hard-throwing 6-foot-6, 185-pound righthander has been virtually unhittable this spring, compiling a 5-0 record and a 0.87 ERA while allowing opponents to hit just .117.

"When he's on the mound," Mainland coach Gary Hegh said, "we can beat anyone."

In 32 innings, Law has struck out 52, walked 20, and surrendered only 13 hits.

It didn't take Law long to establish himself this year. In his first start, Law set a school record by striking out 17 in a 2-1 win over St. Joseph, breaking the mark set by - you guessed it - his dad, who fanned 16 in a 1965 game against Wildwood.

"That was a lifetime ago," Jonathan Law said the other night. "Back then, kids were using wooden bats, so his game was much more noteworthy. I'm more proud of his game than mine. He has a lot more talent and throws harder than I did."

Said Charles Law: "Neither of us knew he had the record when it happened, but it was good to start that way and get the confidence going. Knowing you can do that makes everything easier."

Jonathan Law went to Monmouth on a baseball scholarship. "Then I discovered I wasn't going to be Tom Seaver and I'd better open a book," said Law, now director of radiation oncology and medical physics at the Atlantic Care Regional Medical Center in Pomona.

His son Charles may not be Tom Seaver, either (who is?), but he does have pro potential. "When you're 6-6 and throw like he does, your potential is unlimited," said Hegh, Mainland's coach.

Charles Law, 16, throws in the middle to high 80s. "He's still a puppy and still figuring what pitching is all about," Hegh said. "He's still developing, and when he fills out and puts on some weight, he'll probably be throwing in the 90s."

Law throws a fastball and a nasty change-up, and is working on a curve.

"He has a good change-up and, when he throws it for strikes, he frustrates hitters," Mainland assistant Tom Grockenberger said. "He throws it 10 m.p.h. slower than his fastball, and it keeps hitters off-balance. It's a tough pitch for hitters to pick up, and it fades away from lefthanded hitters and is especially tough for them."

Law is scheduled to pitch again today against visiting Millville. He combines with 6-4 righthander Max Trotman (2-2, 1.98 ERA) to give Mainland a solid pitching duo who will make the Mustangs a threat in the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs.

"My teammates behind me are playing well and our offense is going well," Law said. "Everybody is contributing."

Especially Law, who improved his velocity with an off-season weightlifting program.

"I worked on my legs a lot and I think that's giving me more power," he said. "I'd say it's added three or four miles an hour to my fastball."

Law said he would listen to pro offers next year but would probably follow the footsteps of his dad and two brothers and attend college.

"I'd love to go to college and play college baseball like my brothers," he said. "It's been a dream for me. I couldn't be doing it without them. They've been through all these situations and they're always telling me how to handle things."