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 Wednesday, July 2, 1997




Northern's bats arrive on time against Stahley's

Yankees no longer shooting blanks in the Tri-County League.

Of The Morning Call


The Tri-County League's "Young Guns" are no longer shooting blanks.

Matter of fact, the Northern Yankees, in just their third season of existence, are gunning down some pretty big targets these days as evidenced by Tuesday night's 11-6 dismantling of perennial Tri-Co power Stahley's.

The game, played in Scherersville, was halted by darkness after six innings. The contest began about 10 minutes late because only one umpire showed up.

The Northern bats arrived on time, however.

The Yankees scored four in the first and broke open a 4-4 tie on Brian Buchman's three-run home run in the third. They tacked on two each in the fourth and sixth.

Northern's 12th win in 25 games this season was a milestone for the franchise. The Yankees won just five times in their rookie 1995 season and 11 in '96.

"In that first year we ran it more like spring training with everybody playing in every game," said Yankee skipper Lee Higgins. "Last year, we improved and won 11 and this year we're putting it together pretty well. We have all young guys in college and we're trying to bring them along in a four or five-year period. Most of these guys are age 23 and under"

Buchman, a 20-year-old Parkland grad, picked a great time for his first home run of the season. The former North Parkland legion standout followed a walk to Jason Strunk and a single by Casey Higgins with a drive over the right-field fence.

"This was a good time for me tonight," said Buchman, who was 3-for-4 with five RBIs. "I've been struggling a little bit, so it was good to come out of it. Stahley's is a good team and they beat us pretty bad (11-1, May 16), so we wanted to pay them back."

While Northern reached double-digits in the scoring column for the second straight night (the Yanks scored 14 in a win over Quakertown Monday), Stahley's couldn't duplicate the 15 runs it scored Monday against Allentown.

The Mariners, Tri-Co finalists last year, had just one hit over the final four innings and six overall. They also couldn't take advantage of seven walks it received from Yankee hurlers Glen Cathers and Jason Strunk.

"We're struggling right now," said player-manager Dave Lutte. "We started off the year 10-1 and beat (division leaders) Gablesville and Center Valley in back-to-back games. Ever since then we're in a `win one, lose one' pattern. We're just in a rut.

"We played Bethlehem (tonight) and then we have 10 days off in a row. That 10-day break couldn't come at a better time. It's just a quirk in the schedule, but we're thankful for it."

Stahley's is still 15-7 and in first place in the Tri-Co's North Division. Northern, meanwhile, needs a strong run in its last nine games to make the playoffs.

"The talent's here and it's just a matter of these guys maturing," said Higgins, who got two hits and two RBIs from Jeremy Smith, a two-run double by Scott Werner and two hits from Brian Ware.

"I don't know if we can make the playoffs. If we finish .500, I'd consider it a success."


From The Morning Call -- July 2, 1997

Copyright 1997, The Morning Call