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Panthers aren't sweep-deprived

May 11, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE

HANCOCK -- For the early part of Monday's first game, Hancock's baseball team appeared to have its mind on something other than doing the job at hand.

The alarm started to ring in the fourth inning, but the Panthers hit the snooze button until the fifth inning, when they scored six runs to come away with an 8-6 win over Southern Fulton.

In a five-inning second game, Hancock claimed a doubleheader sweep with a 3-1 victory, giving the Panthers 10 wins on the season.

"I've been here five years and this is the first time we've won 10 games, and I'm pretty sure it's been 10, 11 years overall," said coach Brian Kerns. "I said at the beginning of the year I thought we could be a good team. We've been in other games we could have won."

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Nick Lanehart fashioned his best performance of the season in the nightcap, allowing three hits and striking out six for his third win.

He gave up singles to Zach Morton and Seth Hall and a wild pitch and fielding error allowed a run to score before the Panthers (10-7) answered.

Logan True drove in Steve Starliper with a single in the bottom of the third for a 1-all tie against Indians starter Derek Younker.

In the fourth against Morton, Ethan Martin walked and was sacrificed to second and scored on an opposite-field double by Chris Harden, who also scored following a stolen base and wild pitch.

"Nick got ahead in the count on batters, and he decided he wasn't going to fool around and just go after them and get them out," said Kerns.

Southern Fulton (6-10) battered freshman Hunter McKinley early in the opener, scoring three times in the first with the help of two hit batters. Younker delivered a two-run double and Ryan Harper added a run-scoring single. The Indians added a run in the second and two more in the fourth for a 6-1 lead.

But McKinley righted himself and the Panthers' offense began to awaken.

There were signs in the fourth, but Hancock left the bases loaded without scoring against Hall. That effort would not be repeated in the fifth.

Eli Souders delivered a two-run double, another run scored on a fielder's choice and another on an error as Hancock cut its deficit to 6-5.

With McKinley at third and Lanehart at second, Kerns called for a squeeze bunt, which Nick Harvey executed perfectly to score McKinley. The Panthers then went ahead 7-6 when Lanehart scored on a groundout.

Hancock added an insurance run in the sixth as True hit his first career home run, a shot over the fence in right-center field.

McKinley, throwing 88 total pitches, blanked Southern Fulton on three hits over the last three innings.

"We just didn't seem to have any interest early in the first game," said Kerns. "There's no answer to waiting. It's hard to put a pulse on 16-, 17-year-olds."

Hall and Morton had four hits each in the doubleheader for Southern Fulton and Morton scored four runs.

"Baseball is a mental game and we gave up too much in the first game," said Southern Fulton coach Andy Pepple, who is playing with a nine-man roster as the season winds down. "Younker had a good outing in the second game, but he is coming off a tender elbow so we watched his pitch count."

Hancock 8-3, Southern Fulton 6-1
Game 1
So. Fulton 310 200 0 -- 6 8 1
Hancock 100 061 x -- 8 8 2

Hall and Munson. McKinley and E. Souders. WP--McKinley (2-1). LP--Hall. HR--H: True (6th, none on).
Game 2
So. Fulton 001 00 -- 1 3 0
Hancock 001 2x -- 3 3 1

D. Younker, Morton (4) and Munson. Lanehart (3-3) and E. Souders.

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