Phil Anastasia: A lefty's long comeback

Brenden Delmonte called it "looseness" in his left shoulder.

It cost him nearly a year of his pitching career.

The Cherry Hill West junior made his first start since late last season Monday against rival Cherry Hill East.

He was sharp: Six full innings, four hits, two runs, seven strikeouts. His pitches have movement, especially his fastball.

"I guess it's that natural lefty movement," Delmonte said after West's 15-2 victory.

His return is big for the Lions. They've got a team that's scratched at Top 10 status for much of the year -- a step forward, one back, two forward, one back.

The issue has been pitching depth. But if Delmonte is healthy to complement to junior Andrew Fisher, West should be right in the mix with Highland, Seneca, Ocean City and Moorestown in the South Jersey Group 3 tournament.

Delmonte is just happy to be healthy and back on the mound.

"It's all I worked for coming up, to be able to pitch in high school," Delmonte said. "I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it anymore."

-- Phil Anastasia