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Hagerstown Pony-ing up for a victory

August 06, 1998

Hagerstown victoryBy CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

photo: MIKE CRUPI / staff photographer [enlarge]




With one swing of the bat, Sal Mauriello and Nick Keller made Rick Suder look like a genius.

Suder sent both Mauriello and Keller into the Pony League East Zone tournament as pinch hitters in the sixth inning, resulting in a pair of three-run home runs to propel the Hagerstown Gray All-Stars to an 11-0 opening-round victory over Fall River (Mass.) at Funkhouser Park Wednesday night.

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The win, halted after Keller's blast due to the mercy rule, sends the Hagerstown "A" team into the winner's bracket tonight against Waynesboro, Pa.

"That just shows we have some decent sticks on the bench," said Suder. "That's one of the good things about the All-Stars - you have 15 good players to help you."

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Billy Keyes, the Hagerstown starter, threw four innings of hitless ball and struck out eight before Keith Kellinger finished off the two-hit shutout.

"Billy Keyes, when he decides to go out and throw the baseball, can be real tough," said the Hagerstown manager. "Then Keith came in and did a strong job. If this team has a strength, pitching is it."

While Keyes was mowing down Fall River hitters, the Hagerstown offense went to work, with Danny Fowler driving in two runs with a homer in the first before Matt Johnson connected for a two-run shot in the second.

In the sixth, Gary Naile led off with a single and Kellinger walked. Aaron Showe's single made it 5-0 before Mauriello's blast stretched the lead to 8-0. A Fowler single and a walk to Mike Rodgers then set the stage for Keller's game closer.

"The nice thing about winning the first one," said Suder, "is that it gives us a little bit of breathing room. We came in a little nervous. We're capable of hitting the ball better than we did tonight."

In the nightcap, Hagerstown Gold, the league's "B" team, was pounded 17-3 by Danville, Va.

C.J. Hedrick did most of the damage for the Pittsylvania County All-Stars, striking out eight in a five-hitter and contributing a grand slam. Brian Farmer, Adam Moore and Phillip Thompson also homered for the Virginians.

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