PHOENIXVILLE - Lansdale Catholic's baseball team handled Phoenixville in every phase of the game Monday afternoon at "Doc" Kennedy Field.
The improved Crusaders supplemented Phil Dlugolecki's strong pitching performance with a 16-hit attack as Lansdale Catholic scored eight runs in the seventh inning to beat the Phantoms, 11-4, in a Pioneer Athletic Conference game.
Dlugolecki carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing a two-out RBI, fly-ball single by Jesse Daywalt to short center field that broke the shutout. Dlugolecki struck out seven batters and walked seven on 116 pitches before giving way to left-hander Chris Bolger to finish up.
Dlugolecki, a senior, also had a big day offensively out of the cleanup position in the batting order. He slammed a three-run home run over the right field fence in the seventh inning and also had a double and single to help highlight the day.
"I actually was not aware it was a no-hitter going on," said Dlugolecki. "There were walks and we were shaky at the start, but we came through at the end. I never pitched a no-hitter. This was probably the closest I ever came."
The Crusaders (3-2, 3-2) made most of the defensive plays behind him, too. Then in the sixth inning, second baseman Dylan Saldutti went up the middle and robbed Bill Shirk of a hit with an outstanding backhand fielding play that protected the no-hitter at the time.
"I'm here for victories, not me," said Dlugolecki. "Everyone played well. It was a team victory."
Left fielder Bob Manchester went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and one run scored for LC, which hit up and down the lineup. The Crusaders' shortstop, Ryan Ignas, and catcher, Todd Budweg, both executed squeeze bunts.
"We have been playing a lot better," Dlugolecki said. "We have more talent this year. I think we are going to surprise some teams this year."
The Phantoms managed just three hits. Mike Gatlos ripped a three-run double to right-center field during the four-run seventh inning.
"They (Crusaders) certainly outplayed us in every aspect of the game," said Phoenixville manager Jack Sturgeon. "Their pitcher (Dlugolecki) took charge out there. He threw strikes and their defense was pretty steady.
"It was the little things, the squeeze plays. They played team ball to the max(imum). We were outplayed and outcoached in every aspect of the game. We have to be more consistent. We are a Jekyl and Hyde team. We have to come ready to play every day. I have to do a better job of conveying that. We have to focus more. Sometimes we are not focused."
Jeff Fortmann pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Phantoms, giving up four earned runs with three walks and no strikeouts. Dan Tirney relieved for the final out.