Federal Little League notes

August 15, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

There's something Ruthian about Federal Little League's run to the Little League World Series.

A little like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield seats before hitting a home run, Federal outfielder Mark Grunberg predicted his team's success - five years ago, according to his father, Pete Grunberg.

When Mark was 7 years old, he told Chookie Karlen, the mother of all-star teammate Nick Karlen, that Federal would be in the Little League World Series when the boys were 12 years old.

"It's been his dream," Pete Grunberg said.

Unlike the Major League version, the Little League World Series truly is international. Eight American teams and eight foreign teams participate.


Kendra Byard said her son, Federal shortshop Ryan Byard, told her the team is sharing a dorm with Japan's team.

They don't share a language, so to be neighborly, the boys "just smile and nod," Kendra Byard said.

Mark Grunberg will have three older generations cheering for him in Williamsport.

That includes his great-grandmother, Teresa Sirbaugh, who is known as Ellie.

She said the only game of Mark's she missed this year was when her sister died.

Another time, when she was in the hospital, she was relieved to hear that Mark's game was rained out.

Sirbaugh said she's been wearing her team T-shirt the last two days and can't wait to get to the Little League World Series.

She will carpool today with her husband, Harry; her son, Daniel, who is Mark's grandfather; and her daughter, Teresa Sales, who is Mark's great-aunt.

Sirbaugh, a baseball fan, is thrilled she will witness a piece of Hagerstown - and Grunberg - Little League history.

"I'm 78 and I'll probably never see it again," she said.

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