Baseball captures Inter-Ac, State championships


Malvern Communications / M. Daller

Pat Ferraiolo

With high expectations leading into this season, Friars responded with tremendous play.

Malvern Communications / M. Daller
Malvern Communications / M. Daller

Leading into this year, the team was fresh off their fourth consecutive Inter-Ac championship. With an unusually high number of returning seniors, the expectation was to win another championship.

“It does not get any easier from year to year, especially when everybody puts a big target on your back,” said Head Coach Freddy Hilliard. “The effort, energy and focus to win this one specifically was probably the most that we had. The expectation was there for these guys; we won it last year and a lot returned. Also, everybody is trying to knock us off.”

The team entered the championship game on May 12th against Springside Chestnut HIll Academy with a 24-6 record, mentally prepared to grab win number twenty-five.

Team Captain and Lehigh University commit Chris Butera ’15 started for the Friars and pitched six strong innings, giving up only one run while fanning four batters. Despite his strong performance, the team found itself trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth.

Starting a five run rally in the bottom of the sixth, Matt Pantalone ’15 had a two run knock to tie the game, followed by an R.B.I. single by Butera to take a 3-2 lead.

Tim Quinn ’15 tacked on two more runs in insurance to give closer Billy Corcoran ’19 a 5-2 lead. He would end up getting the save with two strikeouts.

With that victory, the Friars won their fifth straight Inter-Ac championship – the longest streak in the history of the program.

“We gave all 110% the whole entire time, and we all supported each other; not only in this game in particular, but throughout the long season,” said Matt Daller ’17. “This championship shows that Malvern is always going to be the team everyone wants to beat. We all feel very proud to be able to put on the Malvern uniform and represent our Malvern community.”

Then a week later, on May 23, Malvern accomplished another amazing feat. They won the State Championship for the PAISSA.

First, they won the semifinals 2-0 over Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy with the strong pitching performance of freshman Brady Devereux. He pitched six scoreless innings, and with RBI doubles from Abate and Koniecki, Corcoran got the easy save.

Later, they beat the Perkiomen School 7-2 to capture their third state title in four years. The Friars finished the season with a 22-2 record in the last 24 games.

The Malvern Friars exceeded expectations as they are now the first Inter-Ac baseball champions to repeat as Independent School State Champions, according to the team’s Twitter account.