Younker, Lilly one step from title
Derek Younker isn’t going to blow anyone away with his fastball, but he knows how to get batters out.
Younker was on top of his game Tuesday, pitching Conrad Chiropractic/Lilly American Legion to a 6-2 victory over ProActive Sports at Veterans Memorial Field.
Younker scattered seven hits, struck out one and walked one.
With a 2-0 lead in the series, Lilly can wrap up another Greater City League championship today. Game 3 in the best-of-five set is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Vets.
“He’s coming off two days rest,” Lilly manager Lucas McCoy said of Younker. “He’s not going to blow it by you, but he pounds the zone.
“I wouldn’t even call him crafty. He just knows how to pitch, and that was a great effort on his part.
“And, it puts us in a great position (to win the championship),” McCoy added.
ProActive manager Tom Smith was impressed, too.
“He pitched against us twice in the regular season, and was extremely effective,” Smith said. “He’s a very good pitcher. He proves you don’t have to strike guys out. He changes speeds … he’s pretty tough.”
Younker is a graduate of Southern Fulton High School and pitched four seasons at UPJ.
“That’s kind of how it’s been my whole career,” Younker said of the one walk and one strikeout. “I’m a groundout, flyout kind of guy. I let my defense work and hope they play well behind me, which they did today.
“I just try to keep a steady mix of everything,” Younker said. “I try to keep batters off balance, and it’s been effective so far.”
ProActive managed only two runs off Lilly pitcher Zach Stere in Game 1 and Smith said that’s not good enough.
“You’ve got to find a way to score five runs against them,” Smith said. “Two runs last night and two tonight … it’s tough to beat a good team scoring two runs.
“We know what we have to do offensively, but their pitchers are shutting us down.”
Hitless through three innings, Lilly put together four hits and took advantage of four ProActive errors to take a 4-0 lead, and that was more than enough for Younker.
“They put all of their hits together in that one inning, but that’s what they do,” Smith said. “They find ways to win.”
Lilly batted around in the fourth, getting a double from Brandon Ickes and singles from McCoy, Brent Matish and Landon Sinclair. The four ProActive miscues certainly helped Lilly.
Troy Pincherri singled home John Snyder in the bottom of the fourth to get ProActive on the board, but Lilly tallied twice in the sixth without a hit, taking advantage of two walks, a hit batsman and two wild pitches.
“They added on, which is always huge,” Smith noted.
ProActive’s second run came in the seventh. Pinch batter Brian Farabaugh was hit by pitch and pinch runner Justin Claar eventually scored on Snyder’s groundout.
Game notes: Smith said Andy Smithmyer will pitch for ProActive today. … McCoy was non-commital on Lilly’s starter. … Lilly shortstop Brandon Ickes suffered a leg injury stretching for a base hit in the sixth and had to leave the game.
CONRAD CHIROPRACTIC/LILLY AMERICAN LEGION (6): Matish cf 421, Gallaher 1b-2b 110, Sinclair 2b-ss 301, Davison rf 400, B. Ickes ss 211, Dunlap 1b 100, McCoy 3b 312, Porter c 410, Olsavsky dh 100, Younker p 000, R. Ickes lf 300. – Totals 26-6-5.
PROACTIVE SPORTS (2): Ja. Klausman rf-1b 300, Hargreaves 3b 401, Snyder cf 312, Saxman 1b-p 400, Neff dh-rf 301, Suter p 000, Pincherri c 302, Clancy lf 301, Gority ss 200, Farabaugh ph 000, Claar pr 010, Jo. Klausman 2b 300. Totals – 28-2-7.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Conrad Chiropractic000 402 0-6 5 1
Proactive Sports000 100 1-2 7 6
E-Gallaher, Pincherri 2, Jo. Klausman 2, Saxman, Clancy. 2B-B. Ickes. RBI-Matish, Sinclair, Porter, Snyder, Pincherri. WP-Younker. LP-Suter. SO-Younker 1, Suter 7, Saxman 1. BB-Younker 1, Sutor 7.
Records: Conrad Chiropractic/Lilly American Leagion leads series, 2-0.
Umpires: Bill Vigne (plate), Jay Negri, Bill Strasser (bases).