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Fifteen players, one simple goal

August 16, 1998|By MIKE WOLFF

Getting a group of all-stars to come together as a team isn't easy. Self-centeredness can get in the way.

But the biggest reason Hagerstown Gray has earned a spot in the 1998 Pony League World Series is because the main concern of each player is what he can do to help the team.

"Earlier in the season, we preached to the players that they had to mesh together as a team," manager Rick Suder said. "They did what they were asked to do without any bickering. They have all accepted their roles very well."

Hagerstown is very happy to be part of the World Series, but they are not satisfied with just being there. They have every intention of doing some damage against the competition.

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For the first time since 1995, Hagerstown will represent the East Zone in the World Series. The tournament begins today in Washington, Pa., with Hagerstown facing Tai Tong, Taiwan.

"We're thrilled to death to be representing the Hagerstown area at the World Series," Suder said, "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these young men."

Suder plans to go into the series with his hottest hitters in the lineup. If they do not produce, he will make the necessary changes to be sure the most productive team is on the field.

"If we play like we did during the Zone Tournament, we should be very respectable in Washington," Suder said.

Hagerstown defeated Waynesboro, Pa., last weekend to win the East Zone title. Danny Fowler led the way with a .692 average. Aaron Showe chipped in with a .455 average. Nick Keller and Sal Mauriello came off the bench and belted two home runs each.

Pitchers Derek Haines and Billy Keyes combined for three wins during the Zone tournament and will called on to carry the load in the World Series.

Hagerstown will be in the Blue division with Tai Tong, Taiwan; Carolina, Puerto Rico; and Moon Township, Pa. The White division consists of teams from Bay City, Mich.; Pasadena, Texas; Washington, Pa.; and South San Diego. The top team in each division after the first round will meet in the final game next Saturday to determine the champion.

Hagerstown will face Carolina on Monday and Moon Township on Wednesday.

Directions to Washington, Pa.: Take I-70 West to I-68. Take I-68 toward Morgantown, W.Va. Take Rte. 79 North and reconnect with I-70 West to Washington, Pa.

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