October 10, 2010 – Oberlin vs. Hiram (9-inning DH)
(***click on photos to enlarge***)
Mattie DeDoes takes the field for the first time for “the O.C.” (as they call themselves). The freshman sensation started the first game at 3B, made some stellar defensive plays and worked a walk to lead off the bottom of the ninth, scoring the winning run in a 4-3 victory. He hit a 390-ft. smash to straightaway center field in the sixth, but the CF fence at Oberlin is 400′. No more high school fences, it’s “big boy baseball” now !
In the second game, Mattie made his pitching debut, working two innings (the 5th & 6th) in another Oberlin win. He allowed two unearned runs (two Oberlin E’s in the 6th), and looked real sharp, featuring his change-up as an “out pitch.” Coaches made a point of having him employ all of his pitches in unusual combinations.
A great start, on a beautiful Ohio day. Mattie was the only freshman on the field to begin game 1, when both teams began the day with primarily upperclassmen in the lineup. Coach Abrahamowicz was very pleased with Mattie’s showing, along with his entire 4-week fall workout. “Coach A” says that if the season began today, Mattie would be one of his primary starting pitchers and would likely be in the lineup if not pitching, either at SS or 3B. He received praise from his coach as the team’s “best defensive player” from the fall session. Coach also lauded Mattie’s change-up, saying it was the “best (he’d) ever seen”…one wonders if Coach A (who mentored Detroit Tiger hurler Andrew Oliver, among others) needs to watch more of certain major leaguers, like say, Roy Halladay.
There was a lot of excitement in the crowd about Mattie along with a number of the other freshmen, and the newcomers announced their presence with authority in the doubleheader. Pitchers Drew Karlin (Poolesville, MD) and Michael McDonald (Westin, CT) looked strong in 1-inning stints and showed that they would be strong additions to the staff; and Mattie’s roommate Sean Cohen (Cherry Hill, NJ) demonstrated a quick bat and a good glove at both 2B and 3B (photo of the roommates, below).
Oberlin’s All-American candidate and pro prospect Phil Brua (sr., Avon, OH) was absolutely lights-out as the closer for both contests, and fellow O.C. seniors Brandon Cantrill (Collins, OH) and Ben Kauder (Toledo, OH) swung the big bats–Kauder had the walk-off hit that scored Mattie in the first game. Senior Ben Puterbaugh (Canton, OH), who was featured in Sports Illustrated magazine last spring during his record-setting 2010 season, did not participate in fall workouts due to an overseas study opportunity. Puterbaugh is expected to be back at 3B for 2011; Mattie’s start at the 3B position was due, in part, to Ben’s absence.
Clearly, the highly-touted freshman class has brought a high level of excitement to the Oberlin program, and Coach Abrahamowicz is noticeably ecstatic over the combination of veterans and prospects. “I know guys are gonna work hard in the offseason,” he says, and adds that he needs Mattie to put on a few pounds of muscle.