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Youths take HR swings

June 17, 1999|By DAN KAUFFMAN

As Greg Maddux so eloquently puts it in a Nike commercial, chicks dig the long ball.

And so do little leaguers.

[cont. from sports page]

That's why 14 area players will take their best cuts at Municipal Stadium today and Saturday in the Little League Home Run Derby, sponsored by Play It Again Sports.

In the tradition of the major league home run derby, these little leaguers will get a chance to emulate Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr.

"It gives them a night in the spotlight, too," Play It Again Sports owner Tom Hoffman said.

The 12-year-old sluggers will bat not only for themselves, but for their respective leagues.

"When you get some of the natural rivalries in the area, everyone is holding the torch for their league," Hoffman said. "They don't want to let their leagues down."

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The event started last year as a one-day event with eight players participating. Because of the interest generated, the contest was expanded to two days this time around.

"This year, we have all but one of the leagues from Washington County in the event," Hoffman said.

Seven players will bat today starting at 5:45 p.m. The other seven players will bat Saturday, with the top two players from each day advancing to Saturday's championship round. A temporary fence will be set up 185 feet away down the lines and 200 feet away in center. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.

"I know some of the kids put in extra practice just specializing in this event, getting ready for it," Hoffman said. "I think there's a sense of excitement ... they all want to win it."

The players who will participate in the derby, with the number of home runs hit this year and the league each will represent, are: Ross Pederson (7), American; David Mills (7), Clear Spring; Leo Schill (3), Conococheague; Brent Toms (15), Federal; Nick Adenhart (8), Halfway; Jonathan Elmore (8), Hancock; Brian Barnhart (2), Maugansville; A.J. Bandeff (6), National; Jay Love (5), South Mountain; Wayne Rumbaugh (4), Valley; Orland Dean (10), West End; Dave Murray (10), Waynesboro; Jared Barkdoll (7), Greencastle; Daniel Kershner (9), Hedgesville.

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