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PONYs out to corral berth to World Series

July 31, 2008|By LARRY YANOS

Things are getting "series-ous" for a group of talented baseball players.

The Hagerstown PONY 14 All-Stars will compete in the double-elimination East Zone Tournament, starting Friday in Brockton, Mass. The zone champion will advance to the World Series in Washington, Pa.

"We've hit the ball very well thus far in tournament play and we hope that continues in Brockton," said Hagerstown coach Steve Berger, who managed the 2002 PONY All-Stars, the last Hagerstown team to reach the World Series.

Hagerstown faces host Brockton on Friday at 5 p.m. in the opener. The field includes teams from Chesapeake, Va., and Long Island, N.Y.

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Hagerstown's journey to the Zone opened by winning the sectional in Chambersburg, Pa., followed by capturing the West Division/East Regional in Boardman, Ohio.

"We went undefeated in Boardman," Berger said. "We split with Chambersburg in the sectionals but we beat them twice in Boardman on the way to the championship."

Two teams from the sectional advanced to the West Division/East Regional.

Berger said he thinks this year's Hagerstown team has a good chance to reach the World Series.

"We have a solid pitching staff and some quality hitters," Berger said. "We also have guys who can play other positions when not pitching. That is a big plus."

Right-hander Aaron Stoner heads the pitching staff and is joined by Dylan Ianaro, Jake Bachtell, Luke Toms, Ryan Robinson, Seth Hall, Austin Yost and Brandon Hess. Stoner has a 2.48 earned run average and 29 strikeouts in tournament play.

"Stoner has three wins in the tournament and has been outstanding," Berger said. "Toms has two wins and Ianaro has three saves."

Third baseman Drew DeShong leads Hagerstown's offense with a .611 tournament batting average and 15 RBIs.

Other offensive weapons include: Stoner (.472, five home runs and 16 RBIs), second baseman Chris Kiley (.440), outfielder Zach Schrieber (.423), Bachtell (.406, two home runs and 11 RBIs) and Yost (.342 and 11 RBIs).

The remainder of the squad includes catchers Aaron Dinterman and Ryan Butts and outfielder Brock Heiston.

Joining Berger on the Hagerstown coaching staff are Mark Allen as coach and Mike Kiley as the business manager.

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