Boyertown claims PAC crown
Kurtz pitches Boyertown past Phoenixville for PAC Championship
BOYERTOWN » The biggest pitch Noah Kurtz needed to make Friday night was to himself.
“I was content, but also a little bit amped coming into this,” said Kurtz. “I wanted to keep calm. It was going to be a good day, I convinced myself of that.”
A good day would be an understatement.
Kurtz was masterful on the mound in pitching Boyertown to a 7-0 win over Phoenixville in the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship game at Bear Stadium.
The senior left-hander was anything but overwhelming on the night. Mixing up his speeds and relying heavily on his changeup, Kurtz limited Phoenixville to just six hits and one walk while striking out six over a completegame effort.
“At the start of the game, I saw a guy behind the plate with a (radar) gun, and I was thinking to myself, ‘Is he gonna do that for me?’” recalled Kurtz with a laugh. “I don’t think anyone has ever clocked my pitches. I don’t throw heat, I just throw for contact and let the fielders pick me up.”
After a rain-filled week that forced the semifinal round of the PAC playoffs to be postponed from Tuesday to eventually Friday that led to the whole tournament being conducted in one day, No. 4-seeded Boyertown rallied to upset top-seeded Spring-Ford 5-3. Meanwhile, No. 2-seeded Phoenixville topped No. 3 Methacton 3-1 at SpringFord to earn their first trip to the championship game since 2013.
Left fielder Mitchell Peers and his teammates had heard the talk all week. Talks of calling off the PAC playoffs and crowning the two Divisional champs based on standings — Spring-Ford (Liberty Division) and Phoenixville (Frontier Division). And that didn’t sit well.
“We wanted to play because we know that we have the potential of beating any team in the playoffs,” said Peers. “Why would we want to let people off the hook? We wanted to come out here and prove ourselves.”
“I’m just glad we could get here,” added Boyertown
manager Todd Moyer. “Checking the weather (on Thursday), we didn’t think there was a chance we’d be out here. We didn’t know what would happen. But it turned out to be as nice as it’s been all week. A good day.”
The Bears spotted Kurtz a lead before he even stepped onto the mound at
Right fielder Jake DiCesare worked a bases-loaded walk to cap a two-out rally and get the first run across for Boyertown in the top of the first inning. That was the second of a whopping 14 walks surrendered by Phoenixville pitchers on the night.
Two innings later, first
baseman Michael Hohlfeld ripped an RBI single to straightaway center to score center fielder Austyn Levengood from second base. DiCesare then followed with a single to left to plate Peers and make it 3-0.
For the game, Peers finished 2-for-2 while Levengood had a hit and three runs scored. Leadoff man and shortstop Quinn Mason scored twice while DiCesare finished up with three RBI.
“It’s great coming out here with these guys,” said Peers. “Noah pitched a great game and all nine guys in the starting lineup supported him. The guys on the bench were in the game all the time, cheering. Even the runners, everybody brought a lot of energy to this one.”
Kurtz brought a perfect game into the bottom of the third inning before Phoenixville’s Justin Blakey broke it with a two-out infield single to second base.
Colin Bowdish got the start for Phoenixville and pitched into the third inning before giving way to Quinn Danna for the next 3-1/3 innings. Cole Eggleston got the final four outs for Phoenixville.
Phantom head coach Neil Herman was left wondering what may have been Friday night.
With the opening round of the District One Class 5A playoffs looming Monday for the Phantoms, Herman elected to rest ace Kevin Cushing and save him for next week.
“It could have been a different story if we didn’t have all the rain and everything this week,” said Herman of being unable to throw one of the league’s most dominant pitchers. “But that’s the way things fall. It was an unlucky draw for us but we’ve got to be ready for a district playoff game.”
Phoenixville will open up the District 1-5A playoffs against West Chester Rustin as the No. 5 seed.
After a first-round bye, No. 8 Boyertown will take on No. 9 Methacton in the second round of the District 1-6A playoffs next Wednesday.
*** BOYERTOWN 5, SPRINGFORD 3 » In between Friday night’s games, Hohlfeld could be found standing in the back of the line at the Bear Stadium snack bar.
Seems like the righthander doesn’t have much issue waiting around.
Hohlfeld picked up right where he left off on Friday on the mound on the way
to the win.
“This whole week it was weird, sitting in school, watching it rain,” said Hohlfeld, patiently waiting to dive into a cheeseburger clutched in his hand. “The whole week, I was just thinking, ‘Man, I really want to get out there and play today.’ I’m just glad we were finally able to get out there.”
He pitched into the fifth inning, and was tagged for three runs on three hits and three walks.
Hohlfeld got the Bears on the board first, rolling one to first base to score Levengood in the top of the third. Then DiCesare drove in Peers on the next at-bat to give Boyertown a 2-0 lead. The Bears then crossed two more in the fourth, highlighted by Quinn Mason’s RBI double to left field before coming around to score on an error.
Spring-Ford responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it 4-3, but stranded the bases loaded.
With the momentum seemingly swinging toward Spring-Ford at that point, Hohlfeld brought it back with one swing of the bat.
Hohlfeld delivered an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left field to give the Bears a 5-3 lead to leadoff the top of the fifth.
“I knew what pitch was coming, he’d been throwing a lot of curve balls,” said Hohlfeld. “I knew if I could get good contact on it, I could at least land something in the outfield.”
Spring-Ford starter Jake Skrocki pitched six innings where he scattered five runs (four earned) on eight hits and a walk. Patrick Jucker finished with an RBI double to go along with a run scored.
“These kids battle, they don’t get down,” said Spring-Ford head coach Jamie Scheck. “They’ve been doing it all year. Yes, we’re 18-3, we’ve played ahead in a lot of games. But we’ve battled back from deficits in a lot of games.”
After a first round bye, No. 2-seeded SpringFord will open up its District One Class 6A playoff run against the winner of Avon Grove/PlymouthWhitemarsh next Wednesday.
The Boyertown baseball team poses with the PAC championship plaque after winning the league title Friday in a 7-0 win over Phoenixville.
The Boyertown baseball team piles on to one another after winning the PAC championship with a 7-0 win over Phoenixville Friday.
Winning pitcher Noah Kurtz hoists the PAC championship plaque after pitching a complete game in a 7-0 win over Phoenixville Friday.
Members of the Boyertown baseball team surround pitcher Noah Kurtz (19) to begin the celebration after winning the PAC title, 7-0 over Phoenixville, Friday night.
The seniors of the Boyertown baseball team pose with the PAC championship plaque after winning the title Friday in a 7-0 win over Phoenixville.
Boyertown pitcher Noah Kurtz delivers to the plate against Phoenixville in the PAC championship game Friday at Boyertown.
Boyertown’s Quinn Mason catches a fly ball at shortstop against Phoenixville in the PAC final Friday at Boyertown.