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Martinez lifts Cards over Dodgers in marathon game

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But just what they remember from the...

By Dylan Butler

When they return to school in September, the players on the Team New York Cardinals and the Midville Dodgers will undoubtedly mention Monday’s emotionally charged Met Sandlot league game between the two squads.

But just what they remember from the Cardinals’ 6-4, 14-inning marathon win that took about four hours to play is open to debate.

The final memorable moment of the game was Alex Martinez’s game-winning triple in the left-center field gap that plated Carlos Guzman.

“It was great; it was fun, but I want to go home now,” said Martinez, who also hit a two-run triple in the fifth inning to tie the game at 2.

But that was just one of a season’s worth of highlights packed into this impromptu doubleheader, the longest game anyone associated with it could remember.

There was Guzman’s cannon home from center field that nailed a shocked Vinny Johnson at home as the speedster from McClancy was trying to tag up and score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth.

“That was the turning point of the game right there,” Martinez said of Guzman’s inning-ending double play. “After that, we all got pumped up. I knew we were going to win after that.”

There was the tremendous performance from Midville starter Kevin Conlin, who pitched 10 innings of four-hit ball but didn’t figure in the decision.

“His pitch count was down; he didn’t want to come out,” Midville coach John Maser said of Conlin, a freshman at Cornell University. “We asked him in the seventh inning but he said he was fine. But when (his pitch count) got to around 110 we said enough was enough and made the change.”

There was the sight of two-thirds of the Cardinals coaching staff — manager Ian Millman and assistant coach Charlie Foster — getting thrown out of the game for arguing a pair of controversial calls.

And there was Foster nearly getting into an altercation with a Midville parent in the stands less than an inning later.

“It’s one thing to play aggressive baseball, but it’s another to be unsportsma­nlike,” Millman said. “Anyone on my team who might have done something we don’t deem professional, I want to apologize on behalf of the organization and I want to tip my hat to Midville for being a tremendous competitor.”

There was the Cardinals’ scoring a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning just to have Midville rally to tie the game at 4 in the bottom of the inning on Conlin’s RBI-single to left and Chris Kaible’s groundout to short.

It was on that play that Foster got tossed, upset that the field umpire ruled shortstop Keith Fier stepped over second base on what appeared to be a picture-perfect double play.

He took a seat in the stands, where Millman had been for the past three innings after he was tossed in the bottom of the sixth inning for arguing a close call at second.

“We just haven’t played well and this is the first time the guys pulled together as a team,” Millman said. “I think this could be huge.”

The two teams will meet again July 9 at St. John’s and again July 16 at Forest Hills High School.

“They have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of,” Maser said of his team. “A couple have said, ‘have you ever been involved in a game like this before?’ and I said, ‘quite frankly, not really.’”

Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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