Phoenixville rips rug out from Harriton, wins first district baseball playoff game in 10 years

PHOENIXVILLE >> This isn’t a Phoenixville team that’s intimated by the odds against them.

Missing the Frontier division pennant for the first time in five years before playing up to two of the top baseball teams in District 1 Class 6A — 20 innings in three days to win the Pioneer Athletic Conference Final Four — the Phantoms have been dishing out lumps as much as they’ve taken them.

Against No. 11 Harriton in the opening round of the District 1-5A tournament, No. 6 Phoenixville marched to the same beat. After starting down 5-0 early, the Phantoms amassed 10 straight runs, never looking back in a 15-7 win at Kennedy Field on Monday.

The win marked the first time the Phantoms (15-7) have won a district playoff game in 10 years and one day, their last being a 3A first-round victory, 9-6 over Chichester on May 21, 2013.

Phoenixville advances to the District 1-5A quarterfinals and will head to No. 3 Strath Haven Wednesday, time TBD.

“Everyone just wanted to win. We all stepped up,” Phantoms first baseman Lleyton Coupe said. “Everyone grinding all season, in the offseason, it all paid off today. This is the most runs we’ve scored in a long time, so we’re happy to be here now.”

Coupe provided a vast bulk of said runs with one swipe in the bottom of the second inning. Upon cutting into the deficit, 5-2 after back-to-back bases-loaded walks, Coupe put the barrel on a fastball and sent a four-run shot over the right fence to take what became a permanent lead, 6-5.

The senior went 3-for-3 with six RBIs and two runs scored. Coupe also walked twice, reaching base in every plate appearance.

“My first at-bat, I saw a heavy load of curveballs,” Coupe said. “The one I put up the middle (in the first inning) was a curveball, so I had a feeling I was going to get a fastball. Just happened to be in the middle where I like it, just turned and watched it go.”

Reinvigorated with six straight runs and the lead, Phoenixville continued to pile on insurance in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded, senior shortstop Wade Carruthers (2-for-5, run, two RBIs) ripped a line drive to center, bringing home two runs.

From there, junior catcher Nico Nattle knocked a two RBI double to go up 10-5. An RBI single from Elon commit Hudson Narke, another bases-loaded walk and a balk accounted for three more runs for the Phantoms over the fourth and fifth innings.

Coupe capped his club’s scoring in the fifth frame with a two RBI single to left field. Collectively, the Phantoms recorded 12 hits over five different arms from the Rams (9-8).

“That was a tone-setting, difference-making swing,” Phoenixville coach Geoff Thomas said on Coupe’s grand slam. “He had three hard-hit balls today. He was swinging the bat really well.”

Phoenixville pitcher Hudson Narke winds back to throw to Harriton during the opening round of the District 1-5A baseball tournament at Kennedy Field on May 22. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Narke earned the win for the Phantoms with six strikeouts while working around nine hits and six runs over four innings of work. Finn Lamb, Charlie Belli, Henry Wheeler, Alex Johnson and Jack Ufberg all split mound duties for Harriton.

While it left 11 runners on base, Phoenixville loaded the bases five different times on the day, capitalizing on scoring situations with timely hits to balloon ahead.

“It’s motivational, it’s inspiring and it’s dealing with adversity, getting those opportunities,” Thomas said. “We’ve left runners on base, this year we’ve had games where we leave 10 or 12 runners on base, and that wasn’t the case today. We came up with timely hitting. Timely hitting is bringing runners in when they’re in scoring position.”

Following a scoreless first inning, the Rams opened the floodgates with five runs in the top of the second. Harriton had runners on the corners, the lead man being driven in by Zaden Mahrt with a base hit for the initial run of the game.

Harriton then loaded the bases and with two outs, Ross Brotherston — a junior who holds a .407 batting average, .529 OBP, .556 SLG and .1085 OPS — shelled out a triple to bring everyone home before scoring himself on a throwing error during the play to shoot up 5-0.

Brotherston ended his strong year of batting with a 4-for-4, three-RBI outing.

“Obviously we couldn’t sustain whatever it was that was working, but hats off to them,” Rams coach Scott Kurzinsky said. “They showed a lot of fight to come back in that same inning and put six up on us and that’s uncharacteristic of the way we’ve pitched all year. We just didn’t have any answers.”

Harriton’s Ross Brotherston (14) celebrates with teammates after hitting a triple and scoring on the same play against Phoenixville during the opening round of the District 1-5A baseball tournament at Kennedy Field on May 22. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Sitting on the cusp of the playoff bubble at the tail end of the regular season, Harriton won its final three games, each win needed for the club to clinch a postseason berth. The Rams took wins over Radnor (2-0), Conestoga (13-12) and Marple Newtown (5-2) — each and every inning crucial in keeping their playoff hopes alive.

“We came together as a group when we were 3-5 and talked about how we really need to flip the script, how we all need to be better starting with me,” Kurzinsky said. “And we were.They showed resilience to win six of the last eight games we played to get in the playoffs and put ourselves in a position like this.”

Leo Stein scored Bryce Siegel on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning to cut Harriton’s deceit, 10-6. Lamb added an RBI single in the seventh.

Harriton’s Cameron Sullivan prepares to slide into third base against Phoenixville during the opening round of the District 1-5A baseball tournament at Kennedy Field on May 22. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

With its first PAC title since 2019 and first district win since 2013, Phoenixville is venturing into waters that haven’t been charted in quite some time for the program. But for every hole in the bottom of the boat, the Phantoms have patched them and sailed further.

“That was our goal this year,” Coupe said. “Win the PAC, survive and advance.”

Phoenixville 15, Harriton 7


Harriton Phoenixville
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Siegel 3 2 1 0 Narke 4 1 1 2
Wheeler 4 0 1 0 Marsh 3 1 0 1
Brunelli 0 1 0 0 Coupe 3 2 3 6
Ufberg 0 0 0 0 Carruthers 5 1 2 2
Brotherston 4 1 4 3 Nattle 3 0 2 2
Kozloff 0 0 0 0 Antonini 4 1 1 0
Stein 3 0 0 1 Cervino 0 0 0 0
Albright 2 0 0 0 Whitesel 0 0 0 0
Wayman 2 0 0 0 A. Schwrtz 5 1 1 0
Belli 1 0 0 0 Straight 3 3 1 0
Johnson 1 0 0 0 Bull 1 3 1 1
Lamb 3 0 1 1 Mull 0 1 0 0
Pearl 4 1 2 0 B. Schwrtz 0 1 0 0
Mahrt 4 1 1 1
Sullivan 0 1 0 0
Totals 31 7 10 6 Totals 31 15 12 14

2B — Siegel, Straight, Carruthers, Nattle; 3B — Brotherston; HR — Coupe.

Lamb 1.1 3 5 5 3 3
Belli 1.1 5 5 5 3 1
Wheeler 1.2 3 5 5 4 4
Johnson 1 0 0 2 0 0
Ufberg 0.2 0 0 0 0 2
Narke 4 9 6 5 2 6
Cervino 2 1 0 0 0 2
Bull 1 0 1 0 1 1
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply