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Maugansville begins its reign at state 'storm'

July 24, 2004|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - While the players he helped guide to the District 1 11-12 title celebrated all around him last Thursday, Maugansville Little League All-Stars manager Dan Braithwaite didn't immediately experience the full magnitude of the accomplishment.

"We've got a good group of kids, a good group of athletes, but to go undefeated against 14 other teams was unexpected," Braithwaite said of Maugansville's run through the tournament for the first championship in the league's 30-year history. "We never were behind at any point in the tournament, but while we were playing there wasn't any time to enjoy it. Driving home after the championship game, it finally hit me."

The reward comes now.

Maugansville is one of seven teams competing over the next seven days for the right to be crowned Maryland state champions. The tournament opens today at Conococheague Little League, although Maugansville - which received a first-round bye because it is the champion of the district hosting the tournament - will have to wait an extra day to take the field.

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Maugansville will play the winner of today's game between District 2 champion East Frederick and District 6 champion East Caroline - scheduled for 1 p.m. - on Sunday at 4.

"We're going to watch Saturday's game as a team, so at least we'll have a sight of what's coming at us," Braithwaite said at Friday evening's opeing ceremonies - the calm before the storm of the upcoming week.

Maugansville went 5-0 in its march to the District 1 title, conquering Frostburg, Clear Spring, Conococheague and South Mountain twice to reach the state tournament.

"We didn't know how it would all come together, but in the second game they jelled as a team," Maugansville coach Mike Morgan said.

"It was very exciting because we haven't won in a long time," Brandon Glazer said at the opening ceremonies while standing in a picnic line with all of his teammates - most whom immediately chimed in chorus, "We've never won!"

Sunday's game will mark the end of a 10-day layoff for Maugansville since winning the district title.

"We'll see what happens when they step on the field," Braithwaite said. "You don't know until they step on the field. They're kids."

As for nerves, Briathwaite said he's seen very few of those ("If they're nervous, they never show it," he said), and passed some of that credit to Glazer, who he called a team lader for his steady demeanor.

"He's a silent leader," Braithwaite said. "He's the same no matter what, and our team picks up on that."

"I just cheer my teammates on," Glazer said. "If they do something bad, I just tell them that's OK, they'll do better next time."

Saturday's other games match District 8 champion West Salisbury and District 5 champion Rising Sun at 3 p.m., and District 4 champion Arbutus and District 7 champion Hughesville at 6.

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