Fox Chapel’s Dante DiMatteo throws 2 no-hitters in 5-day span

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Saturday, May 8, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Not many WPIAL pitchers have been as hot as Fox Chapel’s Dante DiMatteo.

In his final starts of April, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed zero hits in 11 innings while striking out 24 batters and walking eight.

On April 23, DiMatteo threw a five-inning no-hitter against Section 2-5A opponent Woodland Hills as the Foxes (9-6, 7-2) won 12-0. He turned around five days later and combined with Luke Hudic to throw another no-hitter against Shady Side Academy. DiMatteo threw six innings, walked three and struck out 13 batters in the outing, his sixth of the season.

“We were hoping that he’d give us something like this, and we were certain that he would, but you never know how kids are going to perform,” Fox Chapel coach Jim Hastings said. “But, he’s pretty zoned in right now, which is good for us. So, hopefully he keeps it going, and we can keep riding his arm as long as we can.”

Along with junior Jacob Patterson, DiMatteo has been someone Hastings can lean on in big spots. He’s led the Foxes to some of their biggest victories this season, including a 2-1 section win over Penn Hills where he threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed one hit while striking out 12.

DiMatteo’s success didn’t start right away. In his first outing against Mars, he allowed three hits, six runs (three earned), while striking eight and walking four.

After a year layoff because of the coronavirus pandemic, which canceled DiMatteo’s junior season, he said he just needed time to settle in and shake off the rust.

“I haven’t stepped on the field since my sophomore year, so it was weird going back out there for the first time,” DiMatteo said. “But now I’m just settled in, and I have the confidence and everything is going well.”

Ironically enough, the Washington & Jefferson commit also had to get used to pitching at the varsity level. He came into this season as the only Fox Chapel player with any varsity experience, but he also hadn’t pitched since he was around 12 years old.

After tearing his growth plate when he was younger, DiMatteo said he stepped away from pitching altogether. But when Hastings called him up as a sophomore, he could see his arm strength and thought he could be pretty successful on the mound.

“I remember bringing him up halfway through the season, and we knew he had a strong arm, but we knew he had pitched before but had some arm issues so he didn’t really want to pitch,” Hastings said. “We told him we thought he would be a really good pitcher if he started working at it.”

DiMatteo said he decided to get back into pitching and added that, at first, he didn’t have the greatest mechanics.

“I didn’t have that much velocity on my fastball and I didn’t have much that was blowing hitters away or anything,” DiMatteo said. “But these past two years I’ve just been working on my pitching mechanics and doing all the right things on the mound.”

He was set to enter last season as one of Fox Chapel’s best pitchers, but after the pandemic canceled the season, DiMatteo decided to dedicate more time to his craft. He pitched for a travel team during the summer and worked on everything he needed to in order to get ready for this season.

“We didn’t really have much pitching depth going into the year, so I felt like I needed to step up a lot,” DiMatteo said. “So, I was really working on my pitching and stuff to get ready.”

So far this year, DiMatteo’s work has paid off for the Foxes. The senior ace has produced a 1.45 ERA in 29 innings while striking out 59 batters. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past three starts and has struck out 33 batters in that span.

DiMatteo has been just as hot at the plate. In 14 games he’s recorded a .400 batting average, tallied 18 hits and drove in 12 runs. He’s also tallied a double and a triple.

Now he’s hoping to keep everything going and lead the Foxes to a playoff appearance.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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