Dan Grandieri is enjoying his final days at Malvern Prep, as evidenced by his free-swinging approach at the plate and the long locks flowing out of his cap.

"I haven't cut my hair since September," the 18-year-old said. "It's my last year of high school. You have to do something like this at least once in your life, right?"

With the laid-back Grandieri contributing two hits, the Friars (20-5 overall) took a big step toward earning their fourth consecutive Inter-Ac League baseball title by defeating Penn Charter, 7-5, Tuesday afternoon in East Falls.

Grandieri and company, improving to 6-2 in league action, gained sole possession of first place.

"This is exactly where we wanted to be, in front and in control of our own destiny," the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder said.

After his team reversed a 5-1 loss to Penn Charter from last month, Malvern coach Freddy Hilliard said of the Quakers (16-5, 5-3 Inter-Ac): "That's a heck of a team. They made a couple of runs at us. Luckily, we were able to answer each of them."

Grandieri, who also plays first base, went 2 for 3 as the designated hitter. In the first inning, his two-run single to center gave the visitors a 3-0 lead.

"It was a 1-0 fastball," Grandieri said. "It was a pretty good pitch to hit. I was just looking to take it wherever [freshman Matt Gorman] threw it."

Grandieri, of Media, is the youngest of five boys. The oldest two, Fran and Chris, starred in hoops at Cardinal O'Hara. The next in line, Brian, did the same at Malvern and played at Penn.

"I played basketball as a freshman and sophomore at Malvern," Dan Grandieri said. "I was a power forward who couldn't jump. I knew I was better at baseball."

His other brother, Tom, played both sports at Malvern and baseball at Penn. He is a baseball assistant at Inter-Ac rival Episcopal Academy.

"Dan and his brothers are gamers, all good guys to be around," Hilliard said.

In a three-run fifth that put Malvern ahead by 7-2, Grandieri singled and scored on Parker Abate's two-run single. The Quakers responded with three runs in the bottom half.

Malvern starter Gardner Nutter and reliever Chris Butera, who entered in the fourth after Nutter's pitch count reached 70, combined for eight strikeouts.

In the seventh, after Zach Kurtz (3 for 3, two RBIs) laced a one-out double to right, Butera induced a pair of fly-ball outs.

"That's been a great pitching combo for us," said Grandieri, who plans to be a walk-on player and study business at St. Joseph's.

"We're going to ride them as far as they'll take us."

Malvern Prep 300 130 0 - 7 11 3

Penn Charter 011 030 0 - 5 10 1

WP: Gardner Nutter. LP: Matt Gorman.

2B: PC-Zach Kurtz 2, T.J. Pagan, Gabe Smith.