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Rain doesn't dampen the spirit of Little League

April 15, 2002|BY SCOTT BUTKI

Softball opening day, A4


Opening day results, D7


scottb@herald-mail.com

Wet weather didn't stop hundreds of Washington County Little League baseball players, family and friends from enjoying opening day ceremonies and games Saturday.

Umbrellas and hats were plentiful at ballfields throughout the county, but the rain didn't stop the players from having fun, coaches and parents said.

"It is going great, despite the rain. They are still all fired up," Carl Keener, assistant coach for the Maugansville Little League's Home Care Pharmacy team, said. "I don't think they even know it is raining."

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"The weather is not dampening too many spirits. They are ready to go," said Warren Sauble, who coaches the Halfway Little League's Gibney major league team and Battery One's T-ball team.

According to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer's Internet site, there was .1 inches of rain as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

Family members said they will endure bad weather to cheer on their relatives.

"That is what families do: They support their kids - in rain, snow, wind and heat," said Susan Morgan, whose nephew, Jacob Ramsey, 11, plays for the Halfway Little League Gear team.

"My kid doesn't care if it is raining. He lives for this. It's not going to matter," said Wanda Stouffer, whose son, Bradley Taylor, 11 is also on the Gear team.

"He just loves the game," she said.

Bradley comes home from team practice to practice some more, she said.

Brendan Deener, 12, who plays third base for the Lions, said he expects to have a good season.

"It is cool. I am going to have a lot of fun," he said.

Halfway Little League President Janet Gigeous said that after planning the season all year, "We are glad to finally start playing baseball."

Rick Carter, president of the Maugansville Little League, tried to sum up opening day.

"It's a wonderful day. It's hectic and frustrating but it's bright and hopeful. It's about all you imagine in the way of emotions," Carter said.

Trace Burker, 10, who plays outfield for the Home Care Pharmacy team, said opening day is always fun. His favorite part of the game is getting a hit - though it doesn't happen as often as he would like, he said.

His mother, Amy, said opening day is special for the players because all of the league teams stand together on the field and are recognized by name.

Ryan Cooper, 9, who plays right field on the Maugansville Ruritan team, said having his name read aloud is his favorite part of opening day.

Nearby, a smiling Happy Dawson lived up to his name, gleefully recounting a double hit by his granddaughter, Blake Fox, 5, who is on the Hub Labels T-ball team.

"I wish it was dry (weather). But we are still having fun," he said.

"I love to see the kids play," his wife, Carolyn Dawson, said.

Over at American Little League's Paul B. Brandenburg Field, Ted Kesper, coach of the Funkstown Legion major league team, said his team has had about 15 practices and is ready for a good season.

"It is exciting. For the kids, mostly, but for me, too," he said.

While it's Kesper's seventh year as a coach, he still gets a great deal of enjoyment out of it, he said.

Sitting in the dugout, team member Tony Bender, who plays third base, said he is looking forward to the season. His favorite part of the game?

"I enjoy hitting the ball," he said

Nearby Charles Blake waited for his son, William Blake, 10, to play. William plays outfield for the Goodwill major league team, his first year in the majors.

During its opening ceremony, the Halfway Little League dedicated the day to the Halfway Volunteer Fire Co. for the work it does for the community. Company employees stood on the ballfield as their names were read aloud.

At the league's request, the company used one of its ladder trucks to fly a large American flag over the field during the opening ceremony, which also included the singing of the national anthem.

The flag display and dedication seemed appropriate, league officials said.

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