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Cardinals win third straight South Penn League title Winning numbers lift Taneytown


TANEYTOWN -- Between the seventh and eighth innings Sunday afternoon at Taneytown Memorial Park, Cardinals' manager Steve Bosley hollered out the winning number of the 50-50 raffle.

"Winner gets 80 bucks, not bad," he yelled.

Everything appeared under control. As things turned out, they ,, were.

In the bottom of the seventh, Cardinals' outfielder Greg Kirby sent a 3-2 curve from Littlestown pitcher Joe Herman over the right field fence for a three-run homer that tied the game at 4-4.

It was the start of another extra-inning, come-from-behind victory for the Cardinals -- the second in less than 24 hours -- as they went on to a 5-4 victory and a three-game sweep of Littlestown to win their third consecutive South Penn League title.

"This was the kind of series you play baseball for," Bosley said. "It was a lot more competitive than we anticipated.

"You really have to give Littlestown a lot of credit. Take away our big second inning in the first game [a four-run outburst] and it was a very close series."

A wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th gave the Cardinals the title.

With two outs and Jeff Wagner at third, Littlestown reliever Shane Crouse intentionally walked Scott Thomson and David Crouse -- the Cardinals' No. 3 and 4 hitters -- to pitch to Steve Insley.

Crouse's first pitch to Insley was in the dirt and got by catcher Randy Reynolds to score the winning run.

"It was anticlimactic," Bosley said. "I told Insley that he just threw eight straight balls, so don't be too anxious up there."

For Littlestown manager Dave Klunk, it was a tough way to lose.

"About as tough as last night's loss," Klunk said, referring to Taneytown's 2-1, 10-inning victory at Littlestown.

"The pitching and defense was outstanding on both sides," Klunk said. "I'm proud of our guys. They played hard and battled hard but they [Taneytown] were a little better."

There were plenty of other winning numbers for the Cardinals this postseason, aside from the one that won Sunday's raffle.

* Trevor Buckley mowed down 21 Thurmont batters in the semifinals for his perfect game. Buckley also threw 18 consecutive scoreless innings after his 5-0 victory in the championship series opener Thursday.

* Bill Swaggerty's 10 innings of one-run ball lifted the Cards to their 2-1 victory over Littlestown on Saturday in game two of the finals.

* The Cardinals' offense produced a 30-run outburst in the opening series clincher against Mummasburg.

* And finally, the Cardinals ended the season with a 23-game winning streak.

"This is the best team the South Penn League has ever had," Bosley said.

"No team has had the combined pitching and hitting we had this year," he said. "As far as summer league baseball, this is the best team I've been associated with."

After three straight titles, is it time for the Cardinals to start thinking about a dynasty? Littlestown set the standard with 13 consecutive SPL titles.

"I think they are very comparable to some of our better teams," said Klunk, who was with Littlestown as a player or manager for all 13 titles.

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