The Tri-Cape high school baseball all-star team took its first step toward Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday morning.
Tri-Cape beat Berks County 9-8 in a first-round Carpenter Cup game at Ashburn Field in Philadelphia's FDR Park. Kyle Cox of Millville and Jon Bruccoleri of Atlantic City both had key hits in the bottom of the seventh inning as Tri-Cape took the lead for good with three runs.
Tri-Cape meets Suburban One League American/Continental in the quarterfinals on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Ashburn Field. The winner advances to the semifinals at Citizens Bank Park on June 24.
The final will be played on June 25 at Citizens Bank.
The Carpenter Cup is a single-elimination all-star tournament features 16 teams from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
The Phillies founded the tournament in 1986. Major League players Mike Piazza and Bobby Higginson have played in the event.
The Tri-Cape trailed 7-6 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning. Cox tied the score with a two-out double that drove in Chris Newman of Cedar Creek. Pennsville's Drew Burdsall gave Tri-Cape the lead for good with a double that knocked in Cox. Bruccoleri followed with an RBI single to put Tri-Cape up 9-7.
Beau Hall of Ocean City struck out the side in the top of the seventh inning to get the win.
"I was warming up for half of the fifth inning and all of the sixth, so my arm felt pretty loose," Hall said in a phone interview after the game. "My arm felt real good. I hadn't thrown in like five days."
Hall said it was a little strange to pitch to batters that he was unfamiliar with.
"During the season you have scouting reports on guys from the other teams, but it was different pitching to batters who were unfamiliar," said Hall, 18, of the Seaville section of Upper Township. Without scouting, you throw a lot of first-pitch fastballs and read from that."
Tri-Cape also got big games from a trio of St. Augustine Prep players - Christian Adorno (two-run triple); Barry Buchowksi (RBI single) and Mike Elfreth (two-run single).
"If we can play Friday like we did (Tuesday) and win, it'll be a great oppportunity to play in a big-time park," Hall said of the chance to play in Citizens Bank Park. "It would be great to win that game, and then hopefully win the whole thing."
The other local players on the Tri-Cape team include: Chris Oakley of St. Augustine Prep; Don Money of Vineland; Troy Dixon of Egg Harbor Township; Doug Schwartz of Middle Township; Kyle Andrews of Ocean City; and Robert Bunton of Buena Regional.
Berks County 000 033 110 - 8 12 4
Tri-Cape 003 030 30x - 9 14 5
2B - Wysocki BC. Cox, Burdsall TC.
3B - Adorno TC.
WP-Hall (1-0) 3Ks LP-Sassaman (0-1).