On Thursday afternoon, the Phantoms captured the District 1 championship with an 11-1 victory over Harriton in five innings at Everett Swanson Field on the campus of Glen Mills School.

The victory guaranteed the Phantoms another berth in the state tournament starting Monday.

Deja vu? Perhaps. But this is only the first step.

Wagner and Ferguson, the fourth and third hitters in the lineup, respectively, are now seniors, and they and the rest of the fourth-seeded Phantoms (13-10) were happy to celebrate a feat that highlighted what has been an up-and-down season.

Wagner pitched a two-hitter against the second-seeded Rams with four strikeouts and one walk on just 69 pitches. On top of that, he slugged a walkoff grand slam home run over the left field fence 335 feet away to end the game by the 10-run rule.

Ferguson has been the steady catcher for Wagner and the rest of the Phantom pitchers.

"It was perfect," Wagner said. "We promised ourselves we wanted at least one game in states. We wanted to win districts. It is another memory for us. Baron and I were in the state tournament."

Now their teammates have the chance for their own memories in this improbable season.

Wagner homered on a 3-2 fastball to knock in Ron Puryear (single), Mike Gatlos (single) and Jon Wanczyk, a courtesy runner for Ferguson who was hit by a pitch.

That set off the jubilation for head coach Jack Sturgeon and his team.

"We have had trouble with the bats," Wagner said. "But today was perfect. We have it. The district win is ours."

The Phantoms banged out 11 hits and played sharp defense to support Wagner's effort.

Phoenixville scored single runs in the first and second innings before erupting for five runs on five hits and an error in the third to take a comfortable lead. Harriton scored its run in the top of the third inning.

Right fielder Mike Dettra (double), first baseman Mike Schaaf and center fielder Gatlos had two-hit outings for the winners. Sturgeon thought it was a solid team effort up and down the lineup. Left fielder Dan Gallagher reached base three times with a hit, walk and RBI. Ferguson had a walk and RBI single in the third inning.

"This is actually where I played my first varsity game in districts," Ferguson recalled. "It was here. I was a varsity catcher for an inning."

He talked about handling Wagner, a hard thrower who is tough to beat when he has control.

"Mike was calm today and it carried over to his hitting," Ferguson said. "He (Wagner) is emotional. We peaked at the right time and hopefully it will carry over to states. It has been an up-and-down season."

Sturgeon was extremely pleased with his troops.

"It was an all-around game," Sturgeon said. "That was probably the best game we have had. All the kids came up big when it counted. Everybody hit the ball and Mike was on. We did the job. I couldn't be prouder of the kids. They wanted it and went out and got it."

Sturgeon said Wagner had his off-speed pitches working along with the fastball.

"When you have that, it is awful tough at this level," Sturgeon said. "He was able to get ahead and keep them off balance. If you do that, you win most games. It was a total team effort."

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