Reading Eagle - May 10, 1980

‘Kid’ Stops Phils


CINCINNATI (AP) – Charlie Leibrandt admitted he was an intimidated 23 year-old when he marched to the mound Friday night to face the “star studded” Philadelphia Phillies.


“I was a little intimidated to start with,” said Leibrandt who was still a college player at Miami University of Ohio 22 months ago.


“I was facing guys I’ve read about all my life.  This team has more big power hitters, plus a guy named (Pete) Rose, who is a baseball hallmark.”


Nine innings and seven hits later, Leibrandt, 3-2, had a 5-2 victory and now leads the Cincinnati Reds with a 2.10 earned run average and two complete games under his belt in the National League.


“You have to give the kid a lot of credit,” said Phils Manager Dallas Green, whose team is now 5-2 in May.  “We have been hitting the ball real well this month and have bunched our hits together, but he shut down my big guys completely,” he said, referring to Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt, the league’s home run leaders.


“This guy is going to get even tougher after he gets around the league and knows these names he’s been getting out,” said Reds Manager John McNamara, pointing to the pitching chart.


Leibrandt, Cincinnati’s lone lefthanded starter, gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out one.


“You can’t measure the help I get from (catcher) John Bench.  He lets me know just what to throw and where to throw it,” said Leibrandt.  “I still have to make the pitches.  I’ve had better stuff other time than I’ve had tonight.  My curveball just didn’t feel right so I stayed pretty much with my fastball and sinker.”


The big hit for Cincinnati was a three-run, bases loaded triple in the fifth inning by reserve outfielder Sam Mejias, who was filling in for the injured George Foster.  It was also Mejias’ 28th birthday.


“I’ve had quite a celebration.  My wife came to town yesterday with Sam Jr., our 8-month-old boy.  The triple tonight made it a perfect birthday.


The Phils Randy Lerch, 0-4, gave up runs in the first and second innings, then loaded the bases in the fifth.


The Reds have won five of their last six games and are back within a few percentage points of first place in the National League West after Houston’s 5-4 loss to Atlanta Friday night.


Philadelphia’s first run came in the first when Rose walked, then moved to second on an infield out and took third on Luzinski’s fly to center.  He scored on Bob Boone’s double to left.


Rose has reached base safely in every Phillies game this season except the April 15 contest with St. Louis.