Penn League plays name that team

April 24, 1994|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Sun Staff Writer

The South Penn Baseball League opens its season this afternoon and it's likely you won't recognize the two Carroll County entries in the men's league.

Both have taken on new names with the former Taneytown Cardinals now nicknamed the Tigers and the old Westminster Elks switching to the Union Bridge Braves.

Taneytown will play host to the Brushtown (Pa.) Bulldogs at Taneytown Memorial Park, while the Braves travel to Thurmont to take on the Rangers. Both games start at 2 p.m.

Taneytown will also have a new look, going with gray, orange and black colors in place of its previous red and white with blue trim. The new uniforms have "Taneytown" written across the chest.

Manager Steve Bosley's Taneytown team came into last season as the three-time defending league champs. After winning the regular season, they were upset by eventual champion Littlestown in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

The addition of starting pitcher Brad Beck, over from the former Westminster team, adds to what was already the best pitching staff in the league. He will be joined by Trevor Buckley, Ron Sell and Bryan Harman, also an assistant coach.

"Brad's going to be a big addition to our starting rotation," Harman said. "He gives us the luxury of having four quality starters and David Crouse and Ken Keith won't have to worry about starting any more."

The offensive lineup also is one of the most potent. The entire cast is back, led by Scott Thomson (league-leading 17 homers in 1993), Steve Insley and Crouse.

"We faltered last year and felt it wasn't a successful season when we lost in the playoffs," Harman said. "We're coming into this season looking to win the playoffs and get another run going."

The Braves enjoyed their finest season ever in 1993 in their last year as the Elks. They finished tied for second with a 23-13 mark during the regular season, but bowed in the opening round of the playoffs against first-year team Gettysburg.

Much of the same nucleus returns with the exception of Beck, a nine-game winner last year. The loss will put more pressure on the team's other top starter, Chris Long, who won nine games in 1993, and other pitchers will need to step up.

The addition of catcher Barry Scott will be a big plus. Last year's Elks used four different players at catcher and having a mainstay back there this season will solidify some other areas.

The offense will be led by Jeff Bruchey, who caught a lot of games last season but will likely move to third this year. He was one of three hitters who batted over .400 last year during the regular season.

Wade Smith, who also caught at times last season, will move back to short where he will join second baseman Denny Snyder to solidify the middle infield. Mike Murphey again will anchor the outfield.

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