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Cats go wild on Panthers

May 17, 1999|By MARK KELLER

WILLIAMSPORT - For the Hancock Panthers, it was the same old story Monday.

"All I can say is we knew this could happen," said Hancock coach Dan Kerns. "The kids came out and swung the bats the first couple of innings, and then we just kind of self-destructed. That's been our problem all year. Mistakes have kind of haunted us all year.''

And when things went south for the Panthers, Williamsport took advantage. The Wildcats scored six runs in both the second and third innings, while Brad Anders and Josh Berger shut down Hancock hitters in a 13-1 five-inning victory in the Class 1A West quarterfinals.

The Panthers' luck changed on a single play in the top of the second inning. Paul Norris led off with a bloop single, and Justin Moore hit a slicing fly ball down the first-base line.

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Norris rounded third and was waved home, but Matt Bowman's relay beat him to the plate, cutting down the run that would have given Hancock a 2-1 lead. Anders struck out the next two hitters to thwart a potential big inning.

"That helped us out by sending him," said coach Rod Steiner. "With Bowman as the relay man, that's the last guy I'd want to run on. That throw was right there."

The Wildcats (14-8) got just two hits in the bottom of the inning, but Hancock starter Doug Steiner helped out by hitting one batter and walking three others. And from there, Anders and Berger took charge. Anders retired the side in order in the third, and Berger got five straight before walking Kevin Miller. Five of the six outs recorded by Berger were strikeouts.

"With their pitching, any time you can get a couple hits and a run or so, you feel lucky," said Kerns.

"I think the kids got a little down, but they didn't give up. And I'm proud of them for that.''

Anders and Les Martin each had two hits for the Wildcats. Bowman drove in three runs.

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