BASEBALL: Phoenixville’s Nico Nattle throws no-hitter against Norristown

PHOENIXVILLE >> Nico Nattle didn’t know it until it was over, but the right-handed pitcher put his name in the Phoenixville history books Wednesday afternoon.

The senior threw a no-hitter in a 4-0 Pioneer Athletic Conference win over Norristown at Phoenixville Area High School. He finished his 89-pitch performance with 12 strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter.

Nattle lost his perfect game against the leadoff batter in the top of the first inning, walking Norristown’s Matt Leary. Leary got to third base after a pair of groundouts, but Nattle recorded his first strikeout of the game to keep the Eagles off the board.

Nattle retired the next seven batters before hitting Norristown’s Collin Harrington. He was stranded on second base in the top of the third and he was the last Eagles batter to reach base until the seventh inning – after 13 straight outs.

“I felt a click in my mechanics and it just felt like I was painting the zone and filling it up,” Nattle, who had success with his fastball early and slider late, said. “Me and coach (Geoff) Thomas talked over what pitches to call and I just felt better.”

Of the nine balls put in play, two stood out as the biggest threats to Nattle’s no-hit bid. Norristown’s Chase Logan hit a ball back up the middle in the top of the sixth inning that deflected off Nattle’s glove and toward third base. Nattle chased it down and fired the throw to first in time.

The other was in the seventh inning when Norristown’s Brett Murphy hit the ball towards second base with backspin. When the ball hit the ground, it stopped on the infield grass in front of Phoenixville second baseman Tommy Whitesel, who got to the ball and recorded the first out of the final frame.

“I didn’t even know until about the seventh when that kid was almost safe at first,” Nattle said. “Everyone was panicking and I was like, ‘Wait, do I have a no-hitter?’ Then when they said, ‘Nice no-no’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, I threw a no-hitter.’ I really didn’t know until that last inning right there.”

Nattle struck out the next batter before issuing his second walk. He finished the game with his 12th strikeout.

“I’m proud of him for that accomplishment, for that feat,” Phoenixville coach Geoff Thomas said. “Super awesome kid, very coachable. His word for the year is ‘coachability.’ I want him to live by that and maintain that as a leader of our ball club.

“Awesome accomplishment. He’ll remember that forever.”

“We’ve been having some pretty good offensive games as of late,” Norristown coach Brett Huston said. “Nico threw a great game today. He mixed it up pretty well. He was able to, in those 3-2 counts, instead of us maybe getting on the basepaths, he was able to put one down the middle when he needed to and he was dealing today.”

Phoenixville’s Nico Nattle pitches against Norristown Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

The Phantoms (1-2, 1-1 PAC) did all of their scoring in the bottom of the sixth inning. Chris Mull led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring the game-winning run on a Giovani Vito single.

Ryan Jacobson followed with a sacrifice bunt, moving pinch runner Dave Meadows to second base. Meadows scored on a Whitesel single to double the lead to 2-0.

Christian Cervino was hit by a pitch and Kevin Kingsbury singled to load the bases with one out. Whitesel scored on a Sam Marsh sacrifice fly and Cervino made it 4-0 when he crossed the plate on a wild pitch.

“We kept chipping and chipping and chipping but nothing was coming across,” Thomas said. “They were getting that final out. We were able to get their pitcher out of the game due to pitch count and we were able to get baserunners, get a couple knocks, moved a couple runners on the basepaths and just got aggressive and were able to put up four.”

Phoenixville’s Chris Mull celebrates after scoring the go-ahead run in the sixth inning against Norristown Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

Drew Macarski took the loss for Norristown. He allowed four runs on three hits in one-third of an inning.

Justin Fryer started for the Eagles and threw five shutout innings before hitting his pitch limit. He struck out five batters to four walks and allowed four hits.

“It was an excellent five innings,” Huston said. “Unfortunately once the 100 pitches is hit, you’re pretty much done at that point anyway. (Fryer and Nattle) both pitched a great game. It just looked like once we changed the speeds on them a little bit they were able to adapt a little bit better than we were. We just couldn’t knock (Nattle) out of the game. That’s probably where we went wrong. Everything else I thought we did excellent – great defense today. We’re definitely getting there. We’re being very competitive with a lot of teams; just have to get over that hump. We’re very close.”

The Eagles drop to 5-2 overall this season and 1-2 in PAC play. Despite the loss, things are looking up for a team that won five games in the entire 2023 season.

“We’ve taken that next step,” Huston said. “We haven’t had five wins to start a year in a very long time, so we’ll definitely take that. We’re in the right direction, for sure.”

Norristown’s Justin Fryer pitches against Phoenixville Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

Phoenixville 4, Norristown 0

Norristown 000 000 0 – 0

Phoenixville 000 004 x – 4

WP: Nico Nattle 7 IP 12 K 2 BB 0 H 0 R

LP: Drew Macarski 0.1 IP 0 K 0 BB 3 H 4 R

2B: P: Giovani Vito

Norristown’s Matt Leary, left, tags out Phoenixville’s Sam Marsh at second base Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Ed Morlock/MediaNews Group)

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