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Younker, Panthers bounce back, beat Indians

April 26, 2003|by BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

WARFORDSBURG, Pa. - Hancock pitcher Tyler Younker had reason to smile after this one.

"What a difference a few days makes," Panthers assistant coach Tom Flowers said to Younker as he shook his hand after a 7-4 victory over Southern Fulton on Friday.

Younker held the rival Indians to four hits and pitched out of deep trouble twice. The resiliency of the sophomore was remarkable, considering he was shelled at Clear Spring Wednesday, getting tagged for 14 runs and 13 hits in one inning.

"Baseball is a game that gives you lots of chances," Younker said. "When I walked off the mound at Clear Spring, I figured I would forget that and move on."

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Younker stonewalled Southern Fulton early, working his curveball in with a sinker that had the Indians chasing it into the dirt. He struck out the side in the second inning and had six strikeouts by the fourth inning.

"(Younker) moved the ball around on them pretty well today," Hancock coach Dan Kerns said. "Tyler can be a very good high school pitcher. At this point, he just needs to let the game come to him."

Down 6-1, the Indians finally touched up Younker in the bottom of the sixth. Younker hit True with a pitch. Steven Szwydek followed with a single and advanced on an error, while Divelbliss and Brandon Utermochlen both reached on errors. A fourth Panthers error helped the Indians plate three runs and came to within 6-4. But Younker coaxed Dustin Vanorsdale into a pop-up and Hancock ended the inning on a 5-4-3 double play.

"My fielders had been doing it the whole game so I knew we would be OK," Younker said.

Younker closed the door hard after Southern Fulton slugger Timmy Keebaugh opened the seventh with a first-pitch home run to right-center. Danny True followed with a walk and Bo Divelbliss singled to move True to third. But Younker regrouped and struck out the next three batters to end it.

"We haven't been hitting the ball well lately," Southern Fulton coach John Mixell said. "We have to come through when we have the opportunity."

Offensively, Hancock (6-5) used aggressive baserunning and some timely hitting to plate five runs over the third, fourth and fifth innings. Younker rapped out three hits and four RBI as the Panthers swept the season series.

"We have a good nucleus," Kerns said of the Panthers, who start six sophomores and one freshman. "I'm most proud of them when they play back from adversity."

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