It didn’t seem like much but a bad-hop single by Morrisville High (Pa.) in the first inning turned out to be the only thing that kept Princeton Day School pitcher Cole McManimon from making some history last Monday.
The sophomore hurler didn’t allow another runner to reach base the rest of the day, striking out nine, as PDS rolled to a 15-0 win in five innings.
Afterward, McManimon acknowledged that he was disappointed to just miss a no-hitter.
“In the first inning I wasn’t really thinking about that but as the game went on it was pretty upsetting,” said McManimon.
There was nothing else for the hard-throwing right-hander to be upset about as he assessed his mound gem.
“I felt sharp, a couple of my pitches were up but I had pretty good location on the ball,” said McManimon, who also knocked in three runs at the plate to help his cause. “My fastball had some zip; I was throwing pretty hard. My curveball was pretty good.”
The victory improved McManimon to 4-0 on the season and gave further evidence that he is a rising star.
In McManimon’s view, his progress has come down to being more of a power pitcher.
“I think striking out kids has been my biggest improvement this season,” said McManimon, who has grown three inches and gained 25 pounds since last season and is now 6’5, 190 pounds.
“Last year, I didn’t really have as high a strikeout total. I was only a freshman and I wasn’t throwing that hard. My walk total is down.”
McManimon is relishing his new role as the ace of the Panther staff. “I like the feeling a lot,” said McManimon, who has already posted wins over Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) powers Hill and Peddie this spring. “It is nice knowing that your team has a lot of faith in you.”
PDS head coach Ray O’Brien has plenty of faith in the precocious McManimon.
“Cole has been great all year; he is really coming around,” said O’Brien.
“That kid is really going to be special. He is still so young. He is bigger and stronger, he is a little more mature. He really has an idea out there. He has always had a presence. He has that mentality where nothing bothers him. He is quiet on the outside but he is a competitor. That kid has got unlimited potential, the sky is the limit.”
O’Brien liked the way the Panthers competed against Morrisville as they improved to 6-3.
“When we had the opportunities to make plays we did,” said O’Brien. “It was all in all a good team effort, we played pretty well.”
Pitching is a group effort for PDS when McManimon isn’t on the mound. “The pitching has been coming around,” said O’Brien.
“After Cole, pretty much the rest of the guys are position players first, pitchers second. Everyone is getting in some bullpen work and we are breaking guys in. We are going to have to space it out and get our way through the season. Hopefully when the tournaments come, our arms will be ready to pitch our way through two tournaments but it is coming around. J.P. Radvany has been throwing the ball pretty well. We also have Ford Schneider and Ben Weiner. Jake Alu is basically our No. 2 pitcher. He can close games for us if we need him to, I just hate to take him away from shortstop.”
The Panther hitting attack has the punch to close out foes. “Offensively from top to bottom, they have all hit in spurts,” said O’Brien, who got two doubles from senior star B.J. Dudeck in the win over Morrisville with sophomore standout J.P. Radvany contributing four RBIs.
“Most of the guys have been consistent. Jake Alu, B.J. Dudeck, and J.P. Radvany, the Coltons, Ross and Rob, have been hitting. We put Dom Gasparro in the nine hole and we have just left him alone. He is having a great year; he has been playing really well for a freshman.”
While O’Brien acknowledges his team doesn’t have a lot of depth, he is confident that it beat anyone on its schedule.
“We know the way that we are set up for pitching it is tough for us to go out there and play four or five games in a week” said O’Brien, whose team plays at Pennington on April 24, at Delran High on April 25, at the George School (Pa.) on April 27, hosts Hopewell Valley on April 29, and then plays at Hamilton on April 30.
“But when we are settled and we have the right lineup and everybody is fresh, we feel we are as good as anybody. We have quality and the kids are into it. It is a good group of guys. I like the way we are progressing. We are using the season to hopefully be ready for tournament time.”
McManimon, for his part, believes PDS can be dangerous come tournament time.
“We have a good hitting group and our pitching is there,” he said. “If we keep those two things together, we should be OK.”