Hancock Jrs. prove that they belong in finals

July 10, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

WILLIAMSPORT - When Hancock dropped a District 1 Junior All-Star winners' bracket game to Conococheague last Sunday, it had a late-inning rally fall short.

Hancock made sure that didn't happen for a second straight Sunday as it jumped ahead early and thumped Conococheague 15-2 to force a decisive championship game on Wednesday. Hancock will host the game at 5:30.

"This was our best all-around game. It was about knowing what we had to do and we did it, " said Hancock manager Harry Lanehart Jr. "Last Sunday, we weren't sure if we could play with (Conococheague) because they were the defending champions. By the time we realized we could play with them it was too late."

Last week, Hancock rallied for four runs late in the game only to come up short, 7-6. The runs came much earlier and much more often in the rematch.


Hancock's Justin Berkstresser homered in the first inning as his team jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Hancock piled it on in the second inning after two runners scored on a Lucas Trunkle grounder that took a bad hop on Conococheague shortstop Danny Spickler and into the outfield. Berkstresser followed with a run-scoring single and Trunkle scored on a fielder's choice to give Hancock a comfortable 6-0 lead.

Conococheague finally got on the board in the bottom of the third when it used two errors and a base hit by Zach Bloyer to score two unearned runs on Hancock starter Derek Younker.

Bloyer's single was one of only three hits given up by Younker, who allowed at least one baserunner in all five innings but escaped unharmed in four of them - the only exception being the third.

"We probably came in a little overconfident, but it was also too much of a layoff," said Conococheague manager Andy Smith, whose team hasn't played since the win last Sunday. "We didn't hit the ball like we can."

Hancock didn't have that problem, batting around in both the fourth and fifth innings to seal the game. Hancock took advantage of four botched fielder's choice opportunities - three on errors - to score four runs in the fourth and up its lead to 10-2.

In the fifth, Berkstresser and Derek Younker reached on back-to-back infield singles and were driven in on a double by Ethan Martin. Adam Younker followed with a run-scoring double and Nick Lanehart added an RBI single. Lanehart scored after Conococheague committed its fifth error of the game.

Berkstresser finished with three hits, while Nick Lanehart, Derek Younker, Dylan Whiteside and Nick Harvey each had two.

"I think we have the momentum now," Harry Lanehart said. "By winning the way we did after rallying last Sunday, we know what we can do."

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