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PONY All-Stars reach World Series

August 13, 2002|By

WOONSOCKET, R.I. -- Aerik Taylor fired a two-hitter with nine strikeouts and hit a three-run homer to lead the Hagerstown PONY League All-Stars to a 10-0 win over New Britain, Mass., on Sunday in the final of the East Zone Tournament.

The victory earned Hagerstown a berth in the PONY World Series beginning Saturday in Washington, Pa.

Hagerstown manager Steve Berger played his cards right when setting his pitching rotation for the weekend, getting Taylor on the mound for the game that counted.

"I wasn't going to save him for a game that we didn't want to play at all," Berger said. "A situation like that, I'd run Taylor out there every time."

The Hagerstown offense made Taylor's job on the mound much easier, staking him to a five-run lead in the second inning.

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Taylor walked and stole second before scoring on Phil Jordan's one-out double.

Matt Fortese and Justin Weaver singled, with Jordan scoring on Weaver's hit. Jeremiah Mills followed with a two-run double and Tyler Beard plated Mills with a single.

Hagerstown took a 7-0 lead in the third on Fortese's two-run double. Taylor's homer in the fourth closed the scoring.

Jordan finished with three hits and Fortese had two.

"These kids are willing to listen and they've come a long way, especially with their hitting," Berger said. "All 15 guys have contributed. It hasn't been a 9- or 10-man effort here. All 15 have done their part."

The team will get to work preparing for the World Series on Wednesday and Thursday before leaving for Washington on Friday.

Opening ceremonies for the World Series are on Saturday. Hagerstown plays its first game in the double-elimination tournament Sunday against Port Nechas, Texas.

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