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Against Taiwan, the Kirkland players, who, incidentally, almost all look alike, scored first in the third inning when Mark Swain walked, went to second on a sacrifice, to third on a wild pitch and came home on a safety squeeze bunt by Shawn Cochran, the manager's son. They took a 4-0 lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Adams and Swain and the fourth Taiwanese error of the game. As each run scored, the boys gave each other low high-fives. The lowest was given by 5-foot, 85-pound Catcher Erik Jonson.
In the fifth, Cody led off with his colossal blast off Chen Chin-Tung over the fence and the bandstand in dead centerfield. The ball bounced up a hill to the foot of the scoreboard, 280 feet away. Little League President Creighton J. Hale proclaimed it the longest in Series history, and on the ABC telecast Stone likened it to a Kingman shot. On a smaller scale, of course.
"I couldn't believe how good these kids were," said Stone. "I was only a sub-.500 pitcher in Little League, and we were nowhere near as talented." The play that impressed Stone the most came in the bottom of the fifth when First Baseman Mark Peterson made a diving stab at a grounder, then tossed the ball lightly to Cody, who was covering first.
In the sixth, Cody struck out the side on fastballs set up by curves. For the Series, Cody the pitcher had 26 strikeouts and allowed six hits in 12 innings, and Cody the hitter had a single, two doubles, a homer and three RBIs. After the final victory, 13-year-old Outfielder Gibby Black deadpanned, "I think Cody played real crappy today."
They may talk like major-leaguers, but they still need baby-sitting. "We have to make sure they eat right and get their laundry done," says Cochran. "They've been on the road since August 13, so they've gotten pretty homesick."
Cody has three older brothers, ages 16 to 21, all of whom were Little League All-Stars and all of whom are now over six feet tall, although neither father Ron nor mother Sherrye is very big. Cody's favorite player is Tim Raines of the Expos. They are very nearly the same size.
It may be hard to believe that someone with a 75-mph fastball can be 12 years old. "I assure you, he is," says Sherrye Webster. "The other night when he called from Williamsport all he was worried about was how his mutt Taffy was doing in the 90-degree heat."
And what could be nicer than a boy, his dog and a world championship? On a smaller scale, of course.