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Springfield comes back to down Phoenixville in district opener

SPRINGFIELD >> Maybe Springfield is getting comfortable following its comeback script.

The Cougars were true to bounce-back form Tuesday against 12th-seeded Phoenixville, easily overcoming a three-run hole en route to a 7-3 victory in a District 1 Class 5A baseball playoff game at Harry “Ace” Bell Field.

The fifth-seeded Cougars had fallen behind by three in the fourth inning, but scored three runs in both their fourth and fifth frames and one more in the sixth to pull away.

The Cougars next host Strath Haven Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Springfield starter Jared Morris pitched 6⅔ innings of four-hit baseball with seven strikeouts and one walk before his pitch count reached the limit with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and a Phoenixville runner aboard. The Cougars called on Dave Strawley to get the final out.

Zach Masalski drove in Phoenixville’s first two runs with a two-out single to left field in the fourth. Masalski had two of Phoenixville’s four hits off Morris, with another hit coming in the seventh inning.

But Morris hung in as his team did its usual comeback thing.

“It’s huge bouncing back after being down,” said Morris, who is headed to Neumann University next year. “We came right back. Getting that back was huge.”

Morris said the Cougars have experienced several ballgames like that this year. Springifield gets down early in games, but the Cougars have such confidence in their ability to come back, and they have done just that.

“That is all a pitcher can really ask for,” said Morris.

“We have been playing from behind the last two or three weeks,” Springfield coach Brian Francis said. “We had been dropping some games that were huge for us. It was the momentum of the game.”

He cited some successful plays the Cougars executed, including a hit-and-run play as well as some stolen bases.

Francis coached at Delaware County Community College as an assistant coach when Herman played baseball there many years ago. Herman praised his group’s leadership and contributions. But at the same time, he looked at all the underclassmen who gained valuable experience and playing time during the 2017 campaign.

For the Phantoms, Luke LeBeau laid down a sacrifice bunt during a three-run rally in the fourth on two hits and one error and a walk. Leadoff man/left fielder Mike Smith had a double and run scored for the Cougars, while Springfield’s Dave Bingaman went 2-for-3 with an RBI and one run scored.

NOTES >> Luke LeBeau laid down a sacrifice bunt during the Phantoms’ three-run rally in the fourth on two hits and one error and a walk. … Brown and Luke Bagley, who stole home in the fourth, scored runs for Phoenixville. .. Leadoff man/left fielder Mike Smith had a double and run scored for the Cougars. … Springfield’s Dave Bingaman went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run. … Cushing pitched four-plus innings with seven strikeouts and four walks before giving way to Shoemaker. … Morris had one hit and two RBI while catcher Andrew Todaro scored two runs.

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