Lefty Mason Matis adds some heat to the Diamond Jacks Gold 11U fire in Boys of Summer.
By Luis Torres
There was no guessing as to what pitch Mason Matis was going to throw next.
Matis, Diamond Jacks Gold 11U’s starting pitcher on Saturday, kept throwing the same pitch over and over again.
The lefty’s fastball was something to behold against Syracuse Sports Zone. It touched the high 50s, according to the scoreboard radar gun at Diamond Nation, and he used it effectively during his outing, which was one of the biggest reasons why he was effective in his 4⅓ innings of work.
Behind Matis’ fastball and a seven-run inning, Diamond Jacks 11U Gold defeated Syracuse Sports Zone, 10-3, in 11U Boys of Summer play.
Matis began his start by needing just 11 pitches in the bottom of the first to record three outs, two of which were strikeouts, one swinging and one looking.
He needed another 11 pitches to get through the second inning with another strikeout, and he struck out the side in the third inning, even after walking the second batter in the inning.
It was that type of day for Matis, who ended up allowing all three runs in the fifth inning when his command started to waver. By then, he had a comfortable cushion to work with after his teammates helped him out, scoring a combined eight runs in the first two innings.
“It felt great because I knew I had a lead and I could still work my fastball and throw more strikes and get outs without having the pressure of not having a lead or having the game 0-0 or 1-1,” Matis said.
Matis also showed a stellar move to first base, which he used to pick off a runner and hold on the runners that did reach base. He scattered four hits, three of which came in the fifth inning, and walked two other batters.
“He had an injury in the spring, so he didn’t get a lot of reps pitching-wise, so he’s just now getting back, and he’s doing well,” coach Jason Keller said. “He mixes pitches well. His fastball is pretty good for this age group. He’s got a progressing curveball. What we were telling him all game was to pitch to the lead. Your fastball is working. Make them prove that they can hit it, which fortunately for him they weren’t.”
Keller preaches to his team to be aggressive on the bases whenever they reach, which is exactly what happened in the second inning. His team scored seven runs on just two hits, but continued to advance to the next base either by stealing a base or via a wild pitch by Syracuse Sports Zone’s pitching staff.
Players like Max Lopez were aggressive on the bases that inning. Lopez reached base on a walk and then came around to score on two separate wild pitches, taking two bases on the first one.
Keeping the pressure on Syracuse Sports Zone led to the Djacks grabbing the lead and Keller turned it over to Matis and his fastball.
“I think at this age group, it’s huge,” Keller said. “If you can force the defense to make mistakes, you’re ahead of the game. I think that’s aim number one against teams in this age group. In the last few games, we’ve scored big early and then we didn’t do much the rest of the game. That’s been our push the last couple of weeks. We’ve got to put a full six innings together, but we’ll get there, but it’s always nice to score big early, and then you settle in.”