Matt Fattore of the PA Shockers leads off first base in his team’s victory over the Heavy Hitters
By Rich Bevensee
That collective sigh of relief emitted from Diamond Nation Field 5 was probably coming from the Heavy Hitters’ dugout after they saw a new face on the pitcher’s mound for the top of the second inning.
Sam Greer of the PA Shockers 2024s had just mowed down the Heavy Hitters in a three-up, three-down first inning with 13 pitches, mostly by pinpointing his upper-80s fastball.
But as Shockers’ reliever Jeremy Fallon went to work, that collective sign turned into a groan. Fallon picked up where Greer left off, primarily using his fastball to permit just one run on three hits in three innings of work.
Buoyed by these two exceptional performances, the Shockers thanked their flamethrowers by exploding for 10 runs in the fourth inning en route to a 13-5 victory in the Super 16 Invitational on Friday evening in Flemington.
Greer is a 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore from Central Bucks West High School who has received a handful of Power 5 offers, including a few from the ACC, according to Shockers coach Joe Molettieri. Mullins is a 5-11, 195-pound sophomore from Souderton High.
These two promising hurlers go head-to-head in Bucks County high school ball, but together they are a formidable tip of the spear for the Shockers.
“Sam threw a lot this spring so it’s good to see him continue what he’s doing,” said Molettieri, who played his collegiate baseball at Monmouth (2016-19). “He pounds the zone, throws the ball hard. Jeremy hasn’t been throwing quite as much but it’s good to see him get some good work in. I think with those guys we can only go up from here.”
Greer had two strikeouts in his one inning of work. He was limited Friday evening because he’s attending a camp at Liberty University later this weekend.
“I only threw fastballs today. They couldn’t catch up to it, so…” said Greer, who also throws a slider and changeup. “I normally live around the mid-to- upper 80s, but I sometimes touch 88 or 89. I felt loose today, comfortable.”
“His fastball was working today,” Mullins said of Greer. “Everything was on for him today. He was dialed in.”
Greer, who bats from the left side, also went 2-for-4 at the plate, including an opposite field three-run home run to left center which ended the game due to the mercy rule (eight-run lead after five innings).
“He’s put in the work all winter, all spring, so it’s good for him to see it come to fruition,” Molettieri said.
The Heavy Hitters broke open a scoreless game in the top of the third inning when Justin Morris tripled off Mullins and scored on an RBI single by Benny Andreoli. That was the only damage the South Jersey-based club could do against Mullins, who permitted only two other batters to reach first base.
Mullins was also the recipient of some exceptional fielding from Greer, who snagged a chopper off the bat of Jacob Butcher at third base and began a 5-4-3 double play to close out the top half of the fourth.
Mullins collected seven strikeouts while yielding two walks in his three innings of work.
“In the first inning I was trying to throw a little bit harder and couldn’t really locate, so the next couple innings I tried to slow it down a little bit and throw strikes,” Mullins said.
It seemed that between the Shockers two-headed monster and Andreoli, the Heavy Hitters pitcher, the game was destined to be a tightrope walk. The prospects for a pitchers’ duel changed drastically in the bottom of the fourth, when Andreoli began to struggle with his control and hit the first three batters.
He got the next two outs, but then the Shockers sent 12 more batters to the plate for a 10-run explosion.
Josiah Williams cleared the bases with a single which saw him reach third after a two-base outfield error. Matt Atchley followed with an RBI triple, Danny Schwalm (2 for 3) singled in a run, Cooper Natisin added a grounds-rule RBI double, and Cole Serfass swatted a two-run single. Two more Shockers scored on an outfield error after Fallon singled to center.
“It’s fun to pitch when you have a lot of room to make mistakes, when there’s room for error,” Fallon said. “It’s always good when there’s a good offense behind you.”
Matt Fattore, who just concluded a terrific season at Bridgewater-Raritan High, went 2-for-3 and pitched the final two innings for the Shockers, yielding four runs on three hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
For the Heavy Hitters at the plate, Wayne Hill, Jr., unleashed a three-run home run and Morris finished 2 for 2.
Andreoli lasted 3⅔ innings, allowing nine runs (five earned) on eight hits and no walks with six strikeouts. Gavin McGuire pitched 2⅓ innings of relief and gave up four runs on four hits and four walks with two strikeouts.
Following their game with the Heavy Hitters, the Shockers were defeated 6-1 by Ascent 2024. The Shockers are slated to face the RCBC Marucci 16U Nationals on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Like the Shockers, the Heavy Hitters also split their Friday doubleheader after knocking off the Marucci Nationals 3-1. The Heavy Hitters will conclude their weekend by playing Ascent at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.