Having been around baseball for so long, Harry Daut has seen some top-notch high school hurlers.
This year, Bensalem's fifth-year coach, who pitched for the Owls and Temple, is beyond thankful that his team has two of Southeastern Pennsylvania's top arms.
Junior Nick Dean and senior Steve Aldrich, both Division I-bound righthanders, have consistently been mowing down batters. "It's fun just to sit back and watch them do their thing," Daut said.
Buoyed by the poised and efficient duo, Bensalem was 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the Suburban One League National Conference entering Thursday's game against visiting Neshaminy.
Dean, who has committed to Maryland, was 3-1 with a 0.29 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 24 innings. He had yielded seven hits, six walks, and one earned run.
Before his start against Neshaminy, the Monmouth-bound Aldrich was 3-0 with a 0.32 ERA and 30 K's in 22 innings. He had allowed 13 hits, nine walks, and one earned run.
Dean fired a two-hitter with seven whiffs and no walks, going the distance in a 1-0 shutout of conference rival and defending PIAA Class 6A state champion Pennsbury on Tuesday in Fairless Hills. He induced nine ground outs and four fly outs.
Dean and Aldrich both played for the Philly Bandits, a talented showcase squad, last summer. Dean was a member of the club's 16-and-under team; Aldrich was part of the 17-and-under group. "I really worked on making my curveball have a tighter spin, so that it would have a later break," Dean said.
Dean and Aldrich double as second basemen. Dean was batting .370 with eight RBIs, seven runs, two doubles, and a home run from the No. 3 hole.
Bensalem's pitching rotation also includes southpaw Nick Fossile and righthanders Keith Rooney and Dominic Grady. Of Fossile, Daut said, "He's been in some tight situations and has gotten the job done."
The Owls have been sparked on offense by Dean; cleanup man Rooney, also a catcher; swift centerfielder Keith Parrish; leftfielder Austin Shay; and shortstop Brian Swentkowski. Shay and Swentkowski rotate at the leadoff spot.
Parrish, a No. 2 batter who was hitting .308 with a .455 on-base percentage, shined as a two-way back in football and will play that sport at Kutztown.
Last season, Bensalem went 11-8 and fell to Methacton, 1-0, in the opening round of the district playoffs.