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Cleve Hill’s Phillips fans 19 to set new school mark, lead team

The number 18 has been on his mind for a long time. After one-upping that last week, Aaron Phillips can sleep with a smile knowing that his name will be engraved in the record books.

On Friday, May 3, Cleveland Hill’s junior pitcher struck out a school record 19 batters in a 10-0 win against Lackawanna at home. The previous record was 18, set by Ryan Amos in 2003.

“In the last inning, I got up there and I knew what I was at,” said Phillips, who was also 2 for 3 at the plate with a walk and a run. “I knew what I needed to break it. In that moment I had no intention on tying that record. It was mine.”

Phillips began the game with 11 straight strikeouts. He was on his way to a perfect game until he walked a batter in the fourth inning. Then his no-hitter was ended in the sixth by a bunt, which only fueled him even more to break the mark.

“I was mad because they had just broken up my no-hitter,” said Phillips, who also has a .562 batting average this season.

Phillips always knew the single-game strikeout record at the school. He was just waiting for his day to come where he could call it his own.

“I’ve walked through that hallway so many times and set my goal on getting that,” said Phillips. “It’s definitely been on my mind.”

“It’s been a decade, so I didn’t think the record was going anywhere anytime soon,” said coach Dan Polino, who was teammates with Amos the day he broke the record 10 years ago.

The Eagles only have three wins this season, but they’ve found themselves in a lot more games than last spring.

The boys hope to remain competitive during the final stretch as well as grabbing a playoff win or two, which is certainly a possibility with a ball player like Phillips leading the way on the mound, in the field and at the plate.

“He’s a good leader and he’s very vocal on and off the field,” said Polino. “He’s like a second coach on the team. He tells the kids what he expects out of them. He has a great bat, great glove, great arm for pitching. He’s a huge part of the team.”

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