ABC News special to focus on Hagerstown

June 06, 1997


Staff Writer

The Hagerstown area will be the focus of a one-hour ABC special designed to provide a view of America's families and communities, an ABC News producer said Thursday.

The special will air this fall or next spring, said Producer Martin Smith.

A news crew has been in town since May 20, shooting footage at National Little League games and filming some players at school and church.

The Hagerstown area was selected mainly because of its rich Little League history, which includes a team that went to the World Series in 1968, Smith said.


The show will be about more than the Little League, however.

"It's about families and communities and how we've changed," said Smith.

"I think it's really great that they've picked Hagerstown out of all the places," said Dany Asaro, 12, a pitcher and shortstop for the league's Long Meadow Exxon team in the major division.

An ABC News crew shot footage of Asaro practicing before a game and accompanied her to St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church last Sunday.

One of the aspects of the story is the entry over the years of girls into sports such as Little League baseball, Smith said.

Asaro said there have been girls in Little League since she began playing five or six years ago, but few make it to the major division.

There were no girls on the 1968 National Little League team that grabbed ABC officials' attention.

That team finished sixth in the World Series, said Mike Brashears, 41, who was a 12-year-old star pitcher on the team.

"Certainly at that time I don't think we understood the impact" of representing the northeastern region of the United States in the World Series, Brashears said.

"It becomes more special each year," said Brashears, who remains involved with local Little League. Brashears is manager of the Federal Little League's Hagerstown Exchange Club team.

The special on Hagerstown will be hosted by ABC "World News Tonight" anchorman Peter Jennings as part of the "Peter Jennings Reporting" series, said Smith.

Jennings is expected to spend a day or two in the area this summer. ABC will film through July to capture footage of the Little League's district and state tournaments, officials said.

The show would air either in October to coincide with the Major League World Series or next spring at the start of the Little League season, Smith said.

Most of the National Little League players and parents are tickled that ABC has decided to feature their teams in the national broadcast, said Jay Stouffer, local district administrator for the Little Leagues.

On Monday, the film crew followed several players around at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, said Principal Ralph Kline. They also filmed shots of classrooms, the cafeteria and students getting off the buses, he said.

"I think our kids were very excited about it," said Kline.

Although crews will film many hours of footage, most of it will not make the final cut, Smith said.

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said ABC couldn't have picked a better place.

"We have many hidden treasures and finally, someone else has seen that," Snook said. "This area has always had a good history of children's sports."

Parental involvement is a big part of youth sports, said Snook, who can recall his parents watching him play shortstop for a Halfway Little League team.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the coverage will help promote Hagerstown and its quality of life.

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