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Cats crush Hancock

May 15, 2001

Cats crush Hancock



By DAN SPEARS

dans@herald-mail.com

Sweigert's 3-run homer

Photo: JOE CROCETTA

Staff Photographer

Williamsport's Derrick Sweigert is greeted by teammates after hitting a three-run home run Monday against Hancock.

Williamsport 15

Hancock 2

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Hancock200000-234

Naile, Jordan (6) and Allen. Fling, Moore (4) and Dobrzanski. WP-Naile. LP-Fling. HR-W: Sweigert (4th, two on).



HANCOCK - Playoff time presents whole teams with an opportunity to make up for past mistakes, cleaning the slate for a run at a state title.

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Williamsport's Derrick Sweigert didn't have any past mistakes to fix, but he certainly took advantage of the opportunity he received Monday in the Class 1A West baseball quarterfinals at Hancock.

Getting a rare start in left field, Sweigert went 3-for-4 with a momentum-swinging three-run homer as the Wildcats eliminated the Panthers, 15-2.

"I've been working on my swing all week, just working to make good contact. ... " said Sweigert, who only had 14 at-bats during the regular season. "I've been trying to prove to everyone that I can get in the lineup."

In his first at-bat, Sweigert singled to start a three-run third inning for the Wildcats (10-11) that gave them a 4-2 lead. That started the ball rolling, and his next at-bat flattened the Panthers (10-11).

Ben Jordan and Jason Embly both singled off Brandon Fling, and Sweigert sent the first offering over the left-field fence that made it 7-2 and the end of Fling's day.

"He's been such a surprise," Williamsport coach Rod Steiner said. "He missed the cut his first two years ... but he's looked real good defensively. That's why he was in today. The offense was all a bonus.

"We keep telling the guys ... one game, you're going to get your chance."

Hancock had its chance in the first thanks to a sacrifice fly by Chris Dobrzanski and Doug Steiner's RBI double, but Williamsport pitcher Gary Naile survived a smash off his glove hand to throw out a runner at home.

"We know that to play Williamsport, we're going to have to play close to perfect," Hancock coach Danny Kerns said. "We gave them a couple of chances and they took advantage."

Naile was in so much pain that most throws back to the mound resembled something out of a slow-pitch softball game, but the senior didn't allow a hit over the next four innings while striking out seven.

"We talked about that," Steiner said. "That's a lot of character for a person. He might have a broken hand, and he's out there pitching great."

It ended a surprising season for the Panthers, who hovered around .500 all season despite its small roster and relative inexperience.

"We're proud of them, they had a really good year," Kerns said. "It's disappointing to go out like this, but hey, you've got to play who they tell you to play."

Naile, Jason Embly and Brent Hoover finished with two hits for Williamsport, and Hoover drove in three as the Wildcats advanced to play Clear Spring at home on Wednesday in the semifinals.

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