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PONY stars not upset with loss

August 19, 2000

PONY stars not upset with loss



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


WASHINGTON, Pa. - There were no tears.

The Hagerstown All-Stars quietly, somberly, marched back to the visitor's dugout Friday after an 8-3 loss to West Covina (Calif.) which spelled elimination from the Pony League World Series.

There wasn't a wet eye among the players. No one wept over missed opportunites. No one was haunted by bad memories nor was there any self-incrimination because of errors or mistakes.

Instead there was solitude. A sense of accomplishment from a group of 13- and 14-year-old boys.

They sweated out all those tears.

"We earned some respect," Hagerstown manager Rick Suder said. "We showed a lot of heart and worked hard. I think they are all satisfied. There is some disappontment, but really, I think Chinese Taipei and West Covina are better than us."

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That realization made the whole process of losing - the thought of missing a chance at a world championship - a little more acceptable.

"Our goal was to get here and we did it," outfielder Ben Jordan said. "Then when we got here, we wanted to go as far as we could. Basically, we feel like we finished third in the world."

There were some who felt Hagerstown had a chance to win this title. The team rolled through region and zone compeitition to earn the trip to Washington.

It had deep pitching and decent hitting to go with superior defense. Hagerstown found out it was a different game here.

It was a different brand of baseball. It took West Covina to prove it.

The defending champs shut down Hagerstown on just two hits on Tuesday, sending the the East Zone champs to the losers' bracket and the long, hard road to the finals. West Covina outperformed, humiliated and intimidated Hagerstown.

Suddenly, Hagerstown wasn't hitting the ball. The defense started making errors. And it was forced to use pitching like paper towels. Hagerstown's chances of winning it all were all but gone.

It would take a yeoman's effort from some very young men to pull it off. They could do it just as easily as they could have given up.

"They could have rolled it up," Suder said. "They showed that they have guts. We found out something about ourselves."

Hagerstown's players found out they weren't just happy to be here anymore. It was a matter of pride.

Hagerstown outperformed, humiliated and intimidated West Covina. It did it by putting the ball in play to win a game by scoring eight runs on just one hit with the help of West Covina errors.

"We had a lot of fire from getting beat by them the first time," said Nick Adenhart, who pitched in three of the four games. "We shouldn't have lost to them the first time ... we'll beat them again (Friday)."

It didn't happen.

When Suder realized it was over, he began substituting players to make sure everyone got to play for the last time on Lew Hays Field.

"All these kids worked hard," Suder said. "They all deserved to play and to get one last at-bat in the World Series experience. I'm proud of these guys. I can see success in their futures. Not just in baseball, but in life."

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