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Powell comes back to revive Funkstown

February 13, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

Phillip Powell looks forward to the challenge of the upcoming season as Funkstown American Legion's new manager. But maybe not as much as he looks forward to the opportunity to win the championship of the expanded Western Maryland District.

"I want to bring the program back up," the 21-year-old Powell said. "The team is coming off a difficult season and we want to turn things around."

Funkstown suffered an uncharacteristic losing season in 2007, but Powell is still optimistic about 2008, even with its challenging schedule.

"The Western Maryland District League has expanded from three to seven teams. ... I'm really excited about that," Powell said. "There's still Funkstown, Williamsport and Frederick but four other teams have been added -- Urbana, Brunswick, Thurmont and Mt. Airy. The league is always competitive, the rivalries have been established and the games are tough."

Funkstown will tune up for the league schedule with difficult non-league tests.

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"We'll visit Morgantown (W.Va.) and play at the West Virginia University complex. They won the West Virginia state title last year," Powell said. "We'll also be playing Elkins (W.Va.) They were in the state tournament as well. And Gaithersburg (Md.) is a long-time rival of Funkstown who usually makes it to the Maryland State Tournament."

Powell is well familiar with the Funkstown program.

He is the son of former manager Darryl Powell and played first base for the team from 2002-05.

Powell, a Hagerstown native, attended South Hagerstown and played baseball, football and basketball and also wrestled.

Before competing for Funkstown, he played for the Hagerstown National Little League and Hagerstown Pony League.

Powell followed two years of legion ball by playing for two years at Shepherd University, where he will graduate in May.

"I'm eligible to play for Shepherd again this spring but I decided against it," Powell said. "I would rather concentrate my efforts on the Funkstown Legion program. I will go to Davis & Elkins the next two years and become a graduate assistant for the baseball manager Ronnie Palmer (a North Hagerstown and Funkstown product). I will be getting my Masters Degree from Davis & Elkins, a tie-in with West Virginia University."

Powell's Funkstown eam in 2008 will include players from North Hagerstown, South Hagerstown, Smithsburg and the private schools in Washington County.

"I want to get the best available athletes to play for Funkstown this season," Powell said. "Anyone interested in playing in 2008 can attend signups on March 30 and April 6, at the Funkstown American Legion Home from 2-4 p.m. The age group is 16-19 and a birth certificate, or a copy, is required. Additional information is available on our Website: www.leaguelineup.com/post211."

The 2008 Funkstown coaching staff will also include Darryl Powell, Mike Knight, Matt Smith and Danny Luipersbeck.

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