Years from now, Kevin Mack will still be telling the truth.

When he discusses his three innings of shutout ball at Citizens Bank Park with family members, friends, co-workers, people in Wawa, etc., the personable Mack, who has equal trouble staying still and quiet, won't leave out the rockets-red-glare portion of the story.

"Can't do that," he said. "I'm still laughing about it. I'm gonna say I gave up one that went about five rows deep."

Maybe he'll even add that it hooked foul.

The 5-11, 180-pound Mack, a senior lefthander from Archbishop Ryan High, indeed allowed no runs Monday over a three-frame relief stint as the Catholic League fell to Burlington County (N.J.), 5-1, in the semifinal round of the 26th annual Carpenter Cup Classic.

A major dose of luck was involved.

With one away in the fourth inning, Mark Zagunis (Holy Cross) flied out to deep, deep, deep centerfield. Next up was Bryan Clayton (Lenape), a large, lefty-swinging teammate of Mack's with the Phillies' RBI program.

Bang! Clayton's near home run hooked foul in the rightfield corner. Next, Clayton rocketed a double halfway up the wall toward the centerfield part of right-center.

The next batter, Jose Martinez (Pemberton), hit an absolute bullet . . . Right to third baseman Colin Pyne (La Salle).

"After Bryan hit that first one, I couldn't stop laughing. He smoked it," Mack said. "Toto [Ray, of St. Joseph's Prep] called for the same pitch and, for some reason, I knew Bryan was gonna smoosh it."

Pause. "Bry's a sweet kid. I'll do anything to help him out. He did get stranded at second, so that was cool. If he'd scored, I probably would have been more upset. I'm going to see him the rest of the summer, so I'll be ready for the [cube busting].

"He's actually wearing Ryan Howard's pants. I'm wearing Brian Schneider's. Howard's a lot better than Schneider, so . . . "

Mack replaced righty reliever Matt Dolan (Monsignor Bonner) after a walk and double started the third. An RBI single was one of two hits Mack surrendered during his stint. After a perfect fifth, he zipped from spot to spot in the dugout and maintained a steady stream of chatter.

"I'm hoarse," he said after the game. "Trying to get my voice back right now."

His best offering, repeated numerous times, came when righty Marty McKeone (Bonner) pitched the final two innings, in perfect fashion, for the CL.

"It's a Marty! It's a party!"

"I heard someone else yell it first," Mack acknowledged. "I said, 'That's a good one. I'm stealin' it.' I couldn't stop saying it."

Otherwise, Mack mostly directed his comments at the opposing pitchers.

"That stuff never bothers me. Makes me laugh sometimes," he said. "But I know it gets in other people's heads. I try to be the loudest one."

The CL, which rallied from two-run, two-out, ninth-inning deficits in the first round and quarterfinals, left its magic wands at home. The only run came in the fifth as Rory Clemens (Lansdale Catholic) singled and scored three batters later on a single by Mike "Zoom" Zolk (Ss. Neumann-Goretti).

The CL's other hits went to Toto, Mike McLaughlin (Father Judge) and Jimmy Kerrigan (N-G), while lefty Jon Motts (LC) joined Mack and McKeone in pitching shutout ball.

Mack, who lives near Academy and Morrell in Morrell Park, is bound for Concord University, a Division II school in Athens, W.Va., the southern part of the state. He drew the coach's attention during a camp last summer in Maryland, and the contact continued through the school year. He envisions a career in finance or marketing.

His outfielding days are likely over, however.

"I like the competition of pitching," he said. "You're involved in every play. Not falling asleep in the outfield."

Mack was preceded at Ryan by sisters Kristin and Katie.

"From swimming, they have seven Catholic League championships between them," he said. "I played, like, 12 sports and have zero. Great, right?"

Ah, but Kevin has seized the lead in photos - mostly snapped by his mother, Linda - that can be found all over the house.

"Oh, man. She takes so many pictures. Too many, really," he said, smiling.

Soon, Kevin Mack was stepping out of the Phillies' dugout, ready to head home.

Almost the exact instant Kevin's foot hit the dirt, a voice called out from behind the last row of the lower-deck stands. "Kevvvvvvvv!"

He knew the drill. He turned around and froze for one last pic by Mom. *