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Volume 73, Number 3 | May 19 - 25, 2004

Sports


Cubs top Sox in G.V.L.L. Juniors Division slugfest

By Gabriel M. Zucker

The time has finally come when spring is clearly here for good, and each day brings more signs of the impending summer. And, as with the weather, hitters in the Juniors Division are warming up, showing their talent in the batter’s box and on the base paths: Four of the five games this weekend featured many hits and high scores.

On a warm, picture-perfect Sunday afternoon, when most visitors to Central Park were out having picnics, the Red Sox and the Cubs went head-to-head on the diamond, and before they were done they had 19 runs, 13 singles and six extra-base hits to show for their trouble. Pitchers Dave Gabella for the Cubs and Dan Krantz for the Sox each went the distance, settling down somewhat after shaky starts, but their best efforts couldn’t end the slugfest.

It all started benignly enough in the first. The Cubs worked out a couple of runs on gutsy base running by Tyler Scrima and Gabella — despite many pickoff attempts by Krantz and catcher Ben Aizer — and on Matt Ryan’s RBI single. The hole could have deepened had shortstop Alex Diamond not made a great play on a liner up the middle, doubling off a runner and leaving the Red Sox within striking distance. Sure enough, the Sox took the runs right back in their half. Ethan Zien singled and scored, and Alex Vidal picked up an RBI with one of the world’s longest triples; despite a great jump by centerfielder Ryan, Vidal’s shot was far out of reach.

In the second inning, when the Cubs mounted a rally paced by six hard hits. Shmuel Mincer, Jimmy Kowalski and Chris Spillane rifled singles, while Roan LaPlante and Scrima each blasted a double. Ryan matched Vidal with a triple of his own to the same alley. The Sox made a couple of solid plays in the field to break up the onslaught, including an outstanding relay from centerfielder Zien to Diamond to the plate to foil yet another run.

At this point the pitchers and fielders settled down for a New York minute. But, in the bottom of the third, the Red Sox got things rolling again, mounting a rally that was highlighted by Diamond’s two-bagger. A stellar running catch by rightfielder Joseph Toruseta bailed the Cubs out, sealing the damage at two. They took that momentum with them into the next inning, wasting no time in breaking the game open on four walks and bases-loaded singles by Harlan Green-Taub and Toruseta. When the dust cleared, the Cubs were sitting on the high end of a 12-4 seesaw. Nine outs later the 13-6 victory was in the books.
In other Juniors news, the Orioles trounced the Red Sox 15-4, with Craig Thompson hurling the complete game and smashing a homer. The Blue Jays’ game against the Cardinals was forfeited to the latter’s advantage; in fact the Cards, having lost star pitchers Daquan Swindell and Sam Weiser to season-ending injuries, were playing at the bare minimum roster themselves. Later on Saturday the Giants beat the Blue Jays 9-3, paced by three RBI from Ricky Meyer and a complete-game performance by pitcher Matt Gibson.
A stormy Saturday night caused the cancellation of Sunday’s Giants vs. Cardinals game. But the Orioles and Brewers were still able to face off in Central Park, with the Birds winning 5-4, as Casey Simons notched the W. The Brewers subsequently jumped on the Cubs, with pitcher Nick Mauceri holding them to two runs, while his team scored 11.


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