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Winners!

PONY, Little League make Hagerstown proud

PONY, Little League make Hagerstown proud

August 21, 2008|By TONY MULIERI

One of our national pastimes is sitting in our living rooms watching and reading about national sporting events. And it usually involves other parts of the country.

This time it was our boys.

In a summer that has featured the Olympics in China, we had our own games.

When the Hagerstown PONY League All-Stars and Federal Little League All-Stars made it to the World Series in their respective age divisions, in the same season, it was like hitting the lottery.

You couldn't have predicted it.

But it happened.

These boys of summer advanced deeper and deeper into play and as it evolved, a city, a county took notice.

These were our brothers, our grandchildren, our cousins.

And if we weren't related to them, we adopted them as ours.

In a summer when residents were worried about how they were going to pay for their gasoline, and their mortgage, these two teams provided something we could cling to, something good to cheer about.

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They brought out the kid in all of us.

Dreams do come true, twice.

In stores, and taverns and at club meetings, people were talking about these teams - our teams.

Baseball towns with Pony League teams and Little Leagues involved in these All-Star tournaments saw that Hagerstown, Md., had a team at both levels.

They must play some pretty good baseball in Hagerstown.

And we do.

But it doesn't just happen. Someone said it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes an army of volunteers to make a championship baseball team. It takes loved ones keeping those socks clean, and working in the concession stands to keep a league afloat. It takes dedicated parents who are willing to spend time with children, teaching them the basics of the game.

Both the PONY League and Federal have these intangibles.

Their fields are diamonds in the rough. The PONY League plays at Funkhouser Park, where if you get a hold of one, you could hit a house. At Federal, you have to drive through the Roads Department to find the field and you might have to park next to a steamroller.

To go from these modest surroundings to the national stage says a lot about these boys. To hear "Hagerstown" on the radio and watch your neighbors being interviewed by ESPN's Karl Ravech is surreal.

And while they didn't win it all, they gave us and themselves something to remember for a lifetime.

This summer, these teams, have lifted the spirits of an entire area.

They are our teams.

Tony Mulieri is a Herald-Mail editor.

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