Taneytown Cardinals Bring A 12-year Reign To End For Littlestown

#5 Sports Story

December 30, 1990|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Staff writer

The biggest "on the field" Carroll County sports story took place at a packed Taneytown Memorial Park one August evening.

The Taneytown Cardinals made South Penn League history by winning their first league title and ending the 12-year championship reign of the Littlestown (Pa.) Dodgers.

The Cardinals won the best-of-five series 3-to-1, defeating Littlestown 9-3 in the clincher.

"It was a great year. It's always nice to win, and particularly against the defending champions," Cardinals manager Steve Bosley said. "They (Littlestown) were great champions, but all things must come to an end. The streak was an incredible feat," he added.

The Cardinals finished the regular season 20-12, second in the Western Division behind Cashtown (Pa.).

After routing Thurmont of Frederick County in two straight in the opening round of the playoffs, the Cardinals dropped the first game of the Western Division finals to Cashtown before winning the best-of-three series 2-to-1.

Taneytown opened the championship series at Littlestown by shocking the favored Dodgers 8-1 in the first game.

In game two at Taneytown, the Cardinals coasted to a 15-4 win and were looking for a sweep the following day at Littlestown. But Littlestown showed its championship mettle, rallying to avoid elimination with a 13-3 rout.

There was no doubt about game four as the Cardinals got a pair of homers from David Crouse and a three-run shot by Steve Insley to end the Littlestown era, 9-3, and begin one of their own.

Bryan Harman, who finished the season 8-1 and was later selected the league's top pitcher, won the first game and also the clinching game of the series.

Harman combined with Ron Sell, who won game two of the series, to give the Cardinals the best pitching duo in the league.

"I was proud to have a part in ending the Littlestown dynasty," Harman said after the series. "They are a class organization."

The Taneytown championship also ended a streak of another sort, as Cardinals catcher Randy Matthews played his final game.

Matthews retired after not missing a Taneytown game in the team's six years of existence.

"It feels great to win it all," Matthews said after game four, "especially since I made up my mind midway through the season that I was going to hang it up. I've been catching now for 15 years, and it has taken its toll on me."

Harman added, "I'm going to miss Randy a lot. He's an outstanding competitor and a great person. He's a team player all the way."

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