Taneytown's Cubs Foil Yankees' Undefeated Season

Yanks' 14-9 Loss Halts Streak At 11

May 29, 1991|By Mike Nortrup | Mike Nortrup,Contributing sports writer

TANEYTOWN — The Yankees may win it all this year in the Taneytown Little League's major-league division.

But they certainly won't win them all in doing it.

The Cubs saw to that by convincingly defeating the previously unbeaten Yanks, 14-9, Thursday night at the Taneytown Memorial Field.

The division-leading Yankees entered the game with an 11-0 record, the top mark of any rec team in the county.

But their dreams of an undefeated season were quickly wrecked as the underdog Cubs, only 3-6entering the game and 0-3 against the Yankees, shot to a 14-0 lead after only three innings and coasted from there.

Seeing the writingon the wall, or in this case, the scoreboard, one Yankee rooter in the bleachers already was describing the game in the past tense after that third frame.

"We have a good team, but we had a bad night," she said.

But there have not been too many bad nights for this group of 11- to 12-year-old boys this year.

The Yankees had scored 10 or more runs in all but two previous outings and were six games aheadof their nearest pursuer in the four-team loop.

Yankee manager Doug Arnold credits his team's great start to its experience.

And for many of his players, that experience has included a lot of winning.

Six of those twelve youngsters played on Arnold's Taneytown minor-league team that went 16-0 in 1989.

That squad won the league's regular- and postseason titles.

Many also played on his majors teamof last year that finished second in both the regular season andthe postseason tournament.

The continued successes may have gone to some of the players' heads, Arnold said.

"Some may have an attitude that we can win 21 games (the entire regular-season schedule) withoutlosing. Kids think that way," he said.

But Arnold has been aroundlong enough to know better.

"I thought we had a chance to win the season, but not to go undefeated," he said.

The Yankees had another problem going into the Cubs game besides the law of averages.

Their top pitcher, Darrell Smith, could pitch only three innings that night because he had

already thrown three earlier in the week.

To protect young arms, league rules prohibit players from pitching more than six innings per week.

Arnold said he was hoping other pitchers could hold the Cubs the first three innings until he could bringhis ace in for the final threein the six-inning contest.

But theycouldn't.

The Cubs parlayed a hit batsman, six walks (including four with the bases loaded) and three hits into eight first-inning runs.

Billy Null singled home two runs, and cleanup hitter Vince Stonesifer plated two more with a double in the big inning.

The Cubs added two in the second on a two-run single by Arnold Johnson.

Stonesifer drove in three more with a bazooka-shot, line-drive homer overthe left-field fence in the third, giving him five RBI for the game.

Arnold brought Smith in for the final innings, but it was too late.

The tall, solidly built youngster was overpowering, fast-balling his way through three hitless, scoreless frames, fanning seven.

Cubs starter Eric Malone was effective early, blanking the Yanks the first three innings.

But he weakened in the fourth, as the Yanks scored six runs on five hits.

Jason Zinkand doubled home two runs, and Smith singled home two more in the inning.

The Yankees nibbledaway, scoring one run in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

Smith drove in one of the sixth-inning runs with a double to left -- histhird hit of the game.

But it was the Cubs' night to cheer.

The blue-shirted youths mobbed each other after the game, looking for all the world as if they had just won the seventh game of the World Series.

"Our pitcher kept the ball down and we hit the ball well," said Cubs manager Mike Stonesifer. "Everything went our way tonight that possibly could."

Arnold said the loss might wake his players upto the fact that there's a long way to go in the season and they still have work to do.

"Anything can happen, and it did," he said.

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