MALVERN, PA--Inter-Academic League baseball teams watch their season come to a close several weeks before other local squads who are part of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), and with that comes some discontent and frustration.
For instance, Catholic League stalwarts Archbishop Carroll and La Salle saw their season end this past Monday and Tuesday, respectively. That’s more than two weeks since Malvern and Episcopal Academy played their last game.
“It actually is disappointing because I think the last four years, our team could have made a run at the state championship,” said Malvern Prep senior Billy Corcoran. “Of course, there are other perks in not being in the PIAA, like being able to play almost 40 games a year, whereas PIAA teams can only have about 22 regular season games.”
Senior teammate Brady Devereux, who will room with Corcoran next year as they both begin their collegiate careers at the University of Pittsburgh, maintains the same mindset.
“It is a little disappointing not being able to be in the PIAA state tournament, but I would definitely give that up like we do to be able to have the schedule that we have,” said Devereux. “PIAA teams are allowed 25 total games before states and we can play up to 48. As disappointing as it is, I am definitely okay with sacrificing that to play a 45-game schedule.”
Malvern lost numerous games to weather-related cancellations. But in a perfect culmination to a storybook campaign on May 26 at Upper Perkiomen High School, the Friars brushed off an early 3-0 hole by scoring 13 unanswered runs en route to a 13-3 win over Episcopal Academy and the 2018 Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) championship. The Friars finished with an overall record of 30-7, won 18 of their last 19, and ended on a 15-game winning streak.
Malvern has now won seven tournament championships since 2006, including the past two, four of the past five, and five of the past seven. The postseason event commenced in 1993.
“Anytime you win something like this, it’s special,” said Corcoran, who pitched a complete game that ended in the fifth inning courtesy of the 10-run mercy rule. “We didn’t start the way we wanted, but we got back and started playing like we’re capable.”
After falling behind, 3-0, after one inning, the Friars scored four runs in the second, five in the third, one in the fourth, and three in the fifth. Every starter scored a run, with sophomore Connor Offshack’s output of two hits that included a bases-loaded triple, a walk, four runs batted in, and two runs scored serving as the unofficial MVP performance.
“We have a lot of confidence in everyone,” said Offshack. “It was a matter of time before we put the barrel on the bat.”
Other contributions included senior Connor Dillon (1-2, two walks, run scored, RBI), Devereux (2-4, double, RBI, run scored), junior Chris Newell (1-2, triple, walk, four stolen bases to set a school record 35 for 35), sophomore Jordan Dissin (two walks, run scored), senior Ryan Dillon (two walks, on base four times, two runs scored, RBI that ended the game in the fifth), freshman Lonnie White (two RBI, run scored), junior Charlie Andress (1-2, run scored, RBI), and junior Grant Burgess (run scored).