AP NEWS

Streaking Mustang League Cubs take see-saw battle from Angels

May 1, 2019

A 10-1 record and some pizza slices to end the month of April.

That describes the streaking Mustang League Cubs, who were enjoying both Tuesday night, following a hard-fought 9-8 win over the Angels at Ruth Minchen Field.

Not one, not two but three lead changes highlighted this contest between two of the stronger 9 and 10-year-old squads in the Deer Park Pony League.

The Angels saw their record slip to 9-2, but with a little imagination, they could be 10-1 heading into the final month of the regular season.

With the game’s time limit expired and the Angels leading 8-7, the Cubs rallied for their winning runs in the home half of the fifth inning.

The Cubs dramatically scored their two winning runs after one out. Anthony Rojas was credited with the walk-off hit when his infield chopper resulted in a run-scoring fielder’s choice.

Teagan Land scored the tying run when he singled to left field, stole second and third base, before the inning’s second single brought him home, knotting the score at 8-8.

The Cubs are living a charmed life at the moment because in two of their most recent victories, they’ve rallied from deficits. This time, it was a 5-1 hole they began climbing out of, starting with the home half of the third.

Angels starting pitcher Brennen Rentas, the team’s crafty lefthander, had struck out nine Cubs in just three innings of work on the hill.

The only trouble that the Cubs could give Rentas in those opening three frames was an inside-the-park home run from Land to start the second inning and a Shay Kight RBI grounder that scored Cameron Collier, who had doubled.

The Angels meanwhile staked Rentas to a 5-2 lead through three innings with the help of RBI singles from Eric Jensen and Bubba Baugh and Cubs troubles on defense.

Based on the final score, the Angels also lost a pivotal run at home plate in the second inning. Kight, playing shortstop, couldn’t find the handle on a ground ball. Realizing he had no chance to get the runner at first, Kight alertly saw a runner steaming for home and delivered a strike to his catcher to collect the inning’s third out.

But in the fourth, the Cubs nearly batted around in scoring the maximum number of runs, which is five, to take a 7-5 lead.

The Angels defense abandoned coach Andrew Carter’s crew that inning in the form of excess and errant throws.

Those mistakes tied the game at 5-5, before an Ethan Flynn blooper into no man’s land behind third base set the stage for a go-ahead run.

Flynn stole second and third base, but on the catcher’s throw down to third, the ball sailed into left field. The left fielder was playing shallow and was immediately on top of the errant throw.

It appeared he had an excellent shot to nail Flynn at the plate, but the left fielder bobbled the ball. A Kight infield single then finished the damage.

But back came the Angels with three in the top of the fifth. They too did it with a one-out rally. A hit batter, a walk and an error reduced the deficit to 7-6, before a grounder to the first baseman tied it.

Baugh then scored on a wild pitch to put his teammates back on top at 8-7. The Angels were threatening to add more when Land walked his second and third batters of the inning, before his second strikeout of the frame kept the deficit at one.

That strikeout proved huge as the Cubs rally in their half of the fifth would prove.

ravery@hcnonline.com