Valley View’s senior ace struck out eight in a four-hit shutout of Dallas in the District 2 Class 4A championship, the Cougars’ first district title since 2000.
Age: 18
Family: Father, George; mother, Tara; brother, Dixon.
Favorite sports teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Green Bay Packers
Favorite athletes: Max Scherzer, the late Roy Halladay and Chase Utley
Three people you’d like to have dinner with: My late uncle Pete Fidatti, grandpa Geno Coccetti and Max Scherzer.
Did this game feel like the 2016 final against North Pocono game at all? The first couple innings, I would say yeah, because they were getting on base, threatening every once in a while. The third inning, we had a guy on third with one out. But after that, it was just solid at-bats, the fans were starting to turn toward our side, we had a fan get thrown out — that fired everyone up. So, I thought that, in the fifth inning, we’re going to win this. There’s no doubt in my mind.
When you guys get the run, what are you thinking? I was so fired up. I let out a couple expletives, I do have to say. It was crazy, because I’m like here we go, this is it. Now, it’s just me out there. Go out, don’t get over the pitch count of 100 because I wanted to finish it out. It was a bit selfish of me, but I really wanted to finish that game out.
Obviously, you take your pitching very seriously. But on the other hand, it doesn’t look like you’re too serious out there. You’re having fun. I’m not a serious person. Our first baseman is one of my best friends, Kyle Cwalinski. He’s always making me laugh. Just because I have to remind myself, keep it mellow, don’t harp on errors or mistakes. Get the next play. That’s how I see it.
You did one crazy kick after the first strikeout in the seventh inning. That was an emotional point of the game. That was the first strikeout in the seventh inning. I got a couple comments on that, just people like, “What was that?” I don’t know. I don’t even remember doing it. I went back and I watched, someone had a live stream of it. … I watched the live stream, I was like, “That was excessive. Wow.”
The last out was a swinging strikeout. When you let go of the pitch, do you know … Yeah. I think I yelled something like “Smell Ya!” or something like that. It’s just a habit I got into, because when I play second base and (Dixon) or Zack Blockberger are pitching, I just yell “Smell Ya!” I got it from (Dixon) last year.
You had to know the community was really pulling for you guys. The community, the fans, everyone. Everyone is very centered around Valley View athletics, and you could even see some of the football fans coming out. Guys that don’t even know how baseball is played, they just want to come see Valley View compete and possibly win a game.
You’re going to Lehigh. How excited are you for that? I’m really excited. It should be a lot of fun. We have a great group of guys going in. We were able to meet every single one of them. We had an official visit and they invited everyone down and we all got on to campus, talked with the team now. The coaches are great guys, they know the game, been around it for a while.
Did you think, a couple years ago, that you were going to play baseball in college? A couple years ago, I thought I was going to end up at the U, maybe catching. And then once sophomore year hit, it was like “Wow, I could potentially go Division I for pitching; get a scholarship, too.” If you told me four years ago that I would be going D1 for pitching, I would’ve said you’re crazy.
And you want to be a doctor? Preferably an orthopedic surgeon. I’m going to go into Lehigh studying bioengineering, hopefully on a pre-med track and then end up an orthopedic surgeon. I’m going to do some shadowing this summer, see how I like it.
What drew you to that? I’m not sure. I think it might’ve just been the background in shoulder and arm care, just from playing baseball my whole life. It intrigues me. We had an anatomy class in high school. I was really into the bone and tissue and cartilage, that whole lesson that our teacher taught.