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Post 211 growing up fast

July 26, 2000

Post 211 growing up fast



Funkstown gets past its problems for state berth

By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


Darryl Powell had a feeling. A feeling that someday in the future the Funkstown Post 211 American Legion team would be vying for a Maryland state title.

As hard as it may be to believe, the future is now.

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Funkstown erased any of their manager's doubts brought on by youth and inexperience to play themselves into the eight-team state tournament which will kick off Friday against Garrett at 4 p.m. at McCurdy Field in Frederick.

"If you had asked me at the beginning of the season, I'd have never guessed this," Powell said. "This is such a young team to be in states."

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Funkstown proved age isn't everything, winning 19 of its last 22 games to win the state Western District's second-half title before sweeping Mt. Airy in a best-of-3 playoff to earn the berth in the double-elimination tournament.

All this with 16 players, two less than capacity, and two players - Billy Keyes and Matt Bellon - working only as pitchers. Funkstown did it with some young players doing some mature thinking.

"I'm surprised we made it to states," Powell said. "This is such a young group but they all accepted their roles on the team and it happened early. I thought that was going to take some time."

The first half was the time for development. Funkstown had two of the three factors needed to make a run at a championship. Post 202 scored runs in bunches and had a pitching staff carrying a team ERA of 3.72.

"In the second half, we played some defense," Powell said. "We were in the first half, but we lost three or four games by one run. They were games we threw away. It was a growing process. It just took time for them to adjust because they saw what we could do if we started to play defense."

Funkstown is led by P.J. Hiser, who has done it all in Post 211's charge to the forefront. Hiser is hitting .505 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI to go along with a 5-3 record on the mound with a 1.66 ERA and 86 strikeouts.

Keyes is 7-3 with a 3.30 ERA and 86 strikeouts while Bellon has an 8-1 record and a 3.02 ERA.

Outfielder Matt Johnson is hitting .378, while shortstop Danny Fowler is at .357. Third baseman Matt Allen is hitting .353 and first baseman Josh Carter is at .360. Both have driven in 40 runs.

The tournament runs Friday through Monday, featuring host Frederick and Damascus, which is 30-1 and is stocked with members of the Maryland Class 3A state champions.

"The big thing against Garrett is to play defense," Powell said. "We just have to hope we come out and not have a letdown because of our youth. These kids have come of age and have grown up."

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