PONY still alive

August 16, 2000

PONY still alive

Jordan homers twice, gets win for Hagerstown

By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, Pa. - Hagerstown PONY All-Stars manager Rick Suder was in a tough situation. He had to count on the maturity of a 14-year-old to keep his team in the World Series.


Luckily, the 14-year-old was Ben Jordan. Jordan showed the heart of a gambler and the drive of a major leaguer Wednesday by hitting two solo home runs and backing it up with two innings of critical relief to help Hagerstown take a 8-4 victory over Chatham (Ill.) to stay alive in the series and advance to the Final Four.

"Ben is one of those kids who is a pressure pitcher," Suder said. "He doesn't mind being in those situations. He might be nervous, but he never shows it. In the clutch, he got them."


Jordan couldn't afford to, especially if Hagerstown wanted to keep its plans for a rematch with defending champion West Covina (Calif.) tonight at 8 at Lew Hays Field. Jordan blinked, but didn't flinch.

He ignited Hagerstown's stagnant offense with a two-out solo home run in the first to support pitcher Josh Mitchell, making his second consecutive start. Hagerstown added a four-run second to establish a 5-0 stronghold until Mitchell tired.

Chatham drew within 5-2 with a pair of runs in the third before Mitchell lost his control with a pair of walks to open the fourth. That's when Suder went for Jordan.

"I was nervous coming in," Jordan said. "There was first and second with no outs and all I wanted to do was throw strikes."

But Jordan's first seven pitches were balls, issuing a walk to load the bases and working Jeff Harbour to a 3-0 count. Suddenly, Jordan fulfilled Suder's beliefs.

He struck out Harbour on the next three pitches and got Ryan Hypke to line to third baseman David Miner for an unassisted, inning-ending double play.

"That guy helped me out by striking out," Jordan said. "The next guy got around on a curveball but he hit right at David. That was big. That helped me relax."

Hagerstown tacked on a run in the fourth on consecutive singles by Matt Petro, Jeremy Everitts and Drew Crawford to give Jordan a four-run advantage.

Then at 5-2 in the fifth, Jordan struck out Casey Erickson before getting Brad Ruppert to line to first baseman Andy May to escape any further damage before turning the ball over to Nick Adenhart to close out the win.

While Jordan became the focal point, Hagerstown got itself in position by finally finding its offense. Hagerstown scored in five of six innings and collected 12 hits, including three solo homers - a second by Jordan in the fifth and the other by Adenhart in the sixth - to put Chatham away.

"We came in today and were aggressive with the sticks," Jordan said. "We swung a lot better today and the 12 hits covered the mistakes we made."

Hagerstown's outburst comes on the heels of one of its worst performances, Tuesday's 5-0, two-hit loss to West Covina. A late-night meeting with Suder followed by another pep talk Wednesday afternoon put Hagerstown back in the right frame of mind.

Hagerstown broke the game open in the second with five consecutive hits, including a two-run triple by Tim Kellinger, a bloop RBI single by Bryson Appel and a double by Petro.

"Overall, it was a better performance than (Tuesday)," Suder said. "Our sticks came around and our pitching is getting there."

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