Farewell from the hill

Base­ball has taken Kev­in Mack far in life. 

The lifelong North­east res­id­ent has traveled the na­tion with his vari­ous squads — the Arch­bish­op Ry­an base­ball team, RBI Phil­lies and Amer­ic­an Le­gion — and his next stop will be West Vir­gin­ia.  

He’s headed to Con­cord Uni­versity, to be ex­act, in Athens, W. Va., about eight hours from his North­east home. 

“It’s really nice down there. I loved it when I vis­ited,” said Mack, who will gradu­ate from Arch­bish­op Ry­an on June 6. “It’s very moun­tain­ous and quiet — noth­ing like the city. I really liked the base­ball pro­gram and I’m ex­cited to see what hap­pens.”

A four-year varsity base­ball play­er, Mack will take plenty of ex­per­i­ence with him when he heads south. An All-Cath­ol­ic ath­lete in two po­s­i­tions — first-team on the mound and second-team as an out­field­er — Mack went 4-2 on the hill this sea­son with a 2.75 ERA. He hurled 49 in­nings, re­cord­ing 22 strikeouts. 

The Raid­ers fin­ished 8-4 in the Cath­ol­ic League Red Di­vi­sion, good enough for second place and play­off con­ten­tion. 

“Over­all, the team played up to our ex­pect­a­tions,” said Arch­bish­op Ry­an coach Ron Ger­hart. “It was a tough road find­ing the right play­ers in the right po­s­i­tions and in the bat­ting or­der, but once we found the right com­bin­a­tion, we star­ted to play well.”

Their prom­ising sea­son came to a pre­ma­ture halt, however, when Arch­bish­op Ry­an fell to La Salle, 5-3, in the Cath­ol­ic League quarterfi­nals on May 25. 

Mack pitched a no-hit­ter dur­ing the first two in­nings of ac­tion, and he also put Ry­an on the score­board early with a first-in­ning RBI double. La Salle came back right away, scor­ing one in the third. Mack struck once again in the fourth, this time get­ting hit by a pitch and scor­ing again thanks to a single by ju­ni­or Mike Anusky — and some heads-up base-run­ning. 

The rest of the game see-sawed in a sim­il­ar fash­ion —La Salle and Ry­an scored in the fifth, and the Raid­ers had a 3-2 lead. By the fi­nal two in­nings, however, La Salle’s bats had be­come hot, and Ry­an’s were no match. 

La Salle’s Joe For­cel­lini, Carey Bai­ada, Mike Pis­copo and PJ Aci­erno all singled in the sixth, and a triple by Ju­les Ar­ici in the sev­enth sealed the deal for the Ex­plorers. 

Fi­nal score: La Salle, 5; Arch­bish­op Ry­an, 3.  

“It was a tough loss. I kept giv­ing up runs out there,” said Mack, who gave up 10 hits, walked two bat­ters and struck out one. “I felt con­fid­ent out there. I woke up feel­ing great today. I thought it was go­ing to be a good day. It sucks.”

Des­pite his squad’s de­par­ture from post­season play, the Raid­ers did have a suc­cess­ful sea­son. They went 11-8 over­all, outscor­ing op­pon­ents by 18 runs. 

“Our sched­ule was prob­ably the toughest non-league sched­ule,” said Ger­hart. “There wasn’t one day when you could take a breath­er. Every game was com­pet­it­ive and chal­len­ging. I was pleased with the way we fin­ished.” 

“I’m happy with the sea­son over­all,” ad­ded Mack, who fin­ished the sea­son with a .364 bat­ting av­er­age. “We made it in­to the play­offs, which was our first goal. I wish we could have got­ten a little fur­ther, but I guess everything has to come to an end.” 

As one door closes, however, an­oth­er opens.

Al­though his ca­reer at Arch­bish­op Ry­an is over, Mack isn’t fin­ished on the dia­mond — not by a long shot. He’ll play for the RBI Phil­lies this sum­mer, and also team up with his Amer­ic­an Le­gion team. 

“It’s a lot less com­pet­it­ive and I really love to travel, so it should be a fun sum­mer,” said Mack, now in his fifth year with the RBI Phil­lies (Re­viv­ing Base­ball in In­ner Cit­ies) squad. 

Of course, stay­ing busy is noth­ing new for Mack. 

His ath­let­ic re­sume has grown strong — in­clud­ing one sea­son of foot­ball, three years of soc­cer and four years of swim­ming and base­ball — at Arch­bish­op Ry­an. 

This year, he was team cap­tain for the Raid­ers’ swim­ming and base­ball squads. He also has earned hon­ors throughout his time at the Academy Road school. 

“It keeps me com­pet­it­ive and it keeps me in shape,” Mack said of his ath­let­ic en­deavors. “Next year I’ll con­cen­trate just on base­ball. Base­ball has al­ways been my fa­vor­ite, but I think I’ll miss the oth­er sports.”

Mack plans to con­tin­ue his ca­reer as a pitch­er for the Di­vi­sion II Moun­tain Lions.

“I’m really ex­cited to pitch at the next level,” said Mack, who is armed with an 81 mile-per-hour fast­ball, a changeup, slider and curve. “I can’t be­lieve it’s al­most time to gradu­ate. This whole year flew by. I know I’ll miss it here. I have a lot of good friends from Ry­an. There are so many people in the school, and with all the sports I’ve played, I knew a lot of great people.” •• 

Sports ed­it­or Melissa Yerkov can be reached at my­erkov@bsmphilly.com

In oth­er Cath­ol­ic League play­off ac­tion: 

Monsignor Bon­ner, 10; Fath­er Judge, 0: After de­feat­ing Car­din­al O’Hara, 6-0, in the first round of the Cath­ol­ic League play­offs on May 24, the Cru­saders’ sea­son ended at the hands of Monsignor Bon­ner in the quarterfi­nals the fol­low­ing af­ter­noon. 

Fath­er Judge had only one hit against Bon­ner, fall­ing 10-0 in six in­nings. The Cru­saders end their sea­son 4-8 in the Cath­ol­ic League Red Di­vi­sion and 9-13 over­all. ••

You can reach at myerkov@bsmphilly.com.

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