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They're always there to cheer on Little Leaguers

June 17, 2000|By KERRI SACCHET

BOONSBORO - Dottie Wenner sat smiling in her fold-up lawn chair as her husband, Calvin Wenner, leaned on the chain link fence that borders the South Mountain Little League baseball field.

Cheers were heard from fans and parents sitting at the nearby picnic table as the children ran the bases and swung the bats.

Dottie Wenner said her grandson, Jeffrey Martin, 12, plays for the Reese's team, but the couple goes every night to watch the games whether or not Reese's is playing. Wenner said she and her husband have not missed a game this season, and have missed only a few in the past six years.

"We just like to watch the kids play," Wenner said.

The couple, both 69, from Weverton, Md., are well-known by players and parents. They said they even have their own unofficial parking spot in the unmarked gravel parking lot.

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Wenner said she keeps a packet of papers that lists the teams' sponsors, the players' numbers and nicknames, and the schedule of games.

Joan McLernon, whose son plays on the Reese's team, said the games would not be the same if the Wenners were not there.

"They are the grandparents to every child here," McLernon said. "Every family that came out here adopted them."

McLernon said the Wenners are special because they have taken part in the Little League community even when they don't have a direct connection, like their grandson.

"We're trying to get Pappy (Calvin Wenner) to umpire. He makes better calls from outside then they do in there," McLernon said, laughing.

Calvin Wenner said he enjoys watching his grandson play ball, but plans to continue attending games even when he no longer plays.

"We're retired; we've got nothing else to do," Wenner joked.

Dottie Wenner said she and her husband have bought and designed the team's trophies for two previous years. This season they had each of the players' nicknames embroidered on their team's hats, she said.

She also takes part in cheering the team on.

"I say, 'run, run' or 'hit the ball!'" Wenner said.

Tina Thomas, whose son also plays for Reese's, said: "You don't really see someone who comes down for every game. They are a wonderful, wonderful couple."

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