Taneytown shows muscle in playoffs 3-time SPL champs to face Littlestown in semifinal series

August 11, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Going into the South Penn League baseball playoffs last week, Taneytown Cardinals assistant coach/pitcher Bryan Harman compared this year's club with the 1991 championship team.

He talked about how the Cardinals entered the '91 playoffs not playing up to their capabilities and then got a wake-up call by an overmatched Mummasburg team that surprised them with a win in the second game of the best-of-three opening-round series.

The Cardinals responded with a 10-3 win in the deciding game and went on to sweep their next two series and win the second of three consecutive league titles.

This year, the Cardinals ran into similar problems, losing the second game of the opening-round series to a pesky Brushtown team.

But, they came back Monday with an 18-1 thrashing of Brushtown, reminding the rest of the league who's still the team to beat.

"We're not going to give up our crown that easy," Harman said. "We've won it three years in a row and aren't ready to stop now."

"We basically had our backs against the wall and everyone came to play," he said. "That's the hardest I've seen us hit the ball in a good while."

The Cardinals (30-9) next will play host to the Littlestown Dodgers in a best-of-three semifinal series beginning tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

They got there by jumping on Brushtown from the start Monday night, scoring four in the first, one in the second and seven more in the third.

Scott Thomson was the biggest of many hitting heroes for the Cards, who finished with 21 hits. Thomson, nursing a pulled hamstring injury, went 3-for-3 with four RBI and a towering two-run homer in the first. With a 12-0 lead after three, he rested from then on.

"We haven't been hitting the ball very well the past six or so games, but we certainly put it all together on Monday," Thomson said. "The way we played gives us a big boost toward winning the whole thing again."

Harman and Thomson agree that Littlestown will provide the stiffest challenge in the Cardinals' bid to repeat as SPL champs. The other semifinal series has New Oxford, which defeated Cashtown in the first round, playing host to a young Gettysburg Generals team that shocked the Westminster Elks in the first round.

In 1990, the Cardinals ended Littlestown's 12-year dynasty as SPL champs. They still have plenty of respect for the Dodgers.

"We feel this [series] is the championship. They've been good for a long, long time and although they've slipped a bit, they're still a high-quality team," Harman said.

"We beat them all four times this season, but there were a couple of one- and two-run games. They've blended in youth with some of their veterans and have pretty decent pitching -- we'll have to play our best to beat them."

If the Cardinals get the kind of offensive production they got on Monday, you could just about engrave the team's name on another championship trophy.

David Crouse, Ken Keith and Steve Insley also homered in the opening-round finale for the Cards. Starting pitcher Trevor Buckley threw five shutout innings to win for the second time in the playoffs.

Any chance of an all-Carroll final series were erased Sunday when Gettysburg upset Westminster, 9-8, in the third game of their opening-round series.

After beating the Generals handily all four times in the regular season and winning the first game of the series, the Elks dropped back-to-back games on consecutive days to the 19-20 Generals.

The Elks (24-15), who had the first winning season of their five-year history, again failed to advance past the opening round of the playoffs.

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