Rick O'Brien: Mack is keeping Archbishop Ryan in thick of race

Archbishop Ryan lefthander Kevin Mack is 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 34 innings of league play.
Archbishop Ryan lefthander Kevin Mack is 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 34 innings of league play.
Posted: May 12, 2011

Archbishop Ryan's Kevin Mack has done his part to keep the endangered multisport athlete from extinction.

The last two years, in addition to excelling as a pitcher and outfielder on the baseball diamond, he was an aggressive marking back on the school's soccer squad and a quality freestyler for the swim team.

As a freshman and sophomore, he was a four-sport competitor. In the winter months, in addition to swimming, he was a small forward in hoops. In ninth grade, before he switched to soccer, he gave football a shot.

"Yeah, I've always been one to stay busy and get involved as much as possible," Mack said. "I've enjoyed the challenges that have come with each sport."

With his high school career winding down, Mack is focused on helping Ryan make another strong run at its first Catholic League baseball championship since 1998.

On Tuesday, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound lefthander pitched a four-hitter as the host Raiders quieted Cardinal O'Hara, 6-2, and improved to 6-3 in Red Division action.

With four division games remaining, Ryan is tied with La Salle for second place, behind front-runner Monsignor Bonner. The top two finishers will receive a first-round bye in the coming playoffs.

In league action, Mack, who doubles as a leftfielder, is 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 34 innings. He effectively mixes a fastball in the low-80-m.p.h. range, change-up, slider, and curveball.

"I'm not going to overpower people," he said. "I throw strikes, don't walk too many people, and know how to keep hitters off-balance."

Last year, while helping the Raiders advance to the Catholic League final, Mack was a first-team all-Catholic selection as an outfielder and a second-team pick as a pitcher.

The 18-year-old started this season as the team's No. 2 batter, then saw time at the No. 3 spot. Currently, as the cleanup man, he is hitting .424 in league play.

"He's a good contact hitter, goes with the pitches," Raiders coach Ron Gerhart said. "He handles the bat very well."

Mack, who lives in Morrell Park, has heard from La Salle, West Chester, and Concord, a Division II school in Athens, W. Va.

Milestone. With Wednesday's 11-0, five-inning triumph over visiting Bishop McDevitt, Archbishop Wood skipper Jim DiGuiseppe Sr. notched his 200th career win.

In 17 seasons, DiGuiseppe has guided the Vikings to a 200-168 record. Last year, Wood won its second straight Catholic League Blue Division crown and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA state quarterfinals.

His son, Jim Jr., has assisted him the last 15 seasons.

Game of the week. On Saturday, at 10 a.m. at the Northampton Civic Center, No. 1-ranked Council Rock North and No. 4 Council Rock South will clash in a Suburban One League National Conference showdown.

First-place North will send hard-throwing righthander Patrick O'Leary to the mound. Second-place South is expected to counter with junior lefty Bret DeStefano.

On April 15 in Newtown, North eked out a 2-1 victory.

Rick O'Brien: The Inquirer TOP 10


Team Record

Records are through Tuesday.

Last week's rankings in parentheses.

1. Council Rock N. (2) 14-1

2. Neumann-Goretti (3) 15-0

3. West Chester E. (4) 14-2

4. Council Rock S. (7) 12-2

5. Malvern Prep (NR) 13-5

6. W.C. Henderson (6) 14-4

7. Downingtown E. (1) 14-2

8. Chestnut Hill Ac. (5) 17-3

9. Marple Newtown (8) 14-3

10. Conestoga (NR) 12-2

Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Boyertown (13-5), Devon Prep (15-1), Germantown Academy (12-6), Haverford School (16-5), Monsignor Bonner (11-4), Pennridge (11-5), Spring-Ford (15-4).

- Rick O'Brien

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019

or robrien@phillynews.com.

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