PONY, Federal all-stars hang out with Suns

September 01, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - Players from the Federal Little League 11-12 All-Star and Hagerstown PONY League 14-year-old All-Star teams got a taste of the pros Sunday when they were invited to warm up and practice with the Hagerstown Suns at Hagerstown Municipal Stadium.

"The Suns' manager thought it'd be nice to have 'em hang out and see what it is like to be a professional player," said Joel Pagliaro, director of promotions for the Hagerstown Suns. The teams were also honored at a pregame ceremony before the Suns' Sunday night game against the Lake County Captains.

The invitation was extended after both teams advanced to the World Series in their respective tournaments last month.

"Our players are pumped," Pagliaro said. "They've been following the games."

Federal Little League and PONY League players were excited, too.

"It's pretty cool to get a chance to play with (the Suns players) and meet them and everything," said Federal left fielder Josh Moats, 13, of Hagerstown. "I usually just watch from the stands."


Federal player Brady Hornbecker, 12, of Hagerstown agreed.

"I'm just excited to play here on this field," he said. "It's a pretty nice field."

As the young players gathered in the dugout, Pagliaro welcomed them to the stadium.

"Pretty much today we're going to have you guys do whatever our guys do before a game and kind of get you guys an idea of what professional baseball players do," he told them, adding that the Suns players were really excited to meet both teams.

The visit began with a tour of the Suns' clubhouse, then continued with warm-up exercises on the field. Little League players joined the Suns as they worked through a pregame routine of jumping jacks, stretches and sprints, then lined up with them to practice throwing and catching.

PONY League pitcher Aaron Stoner, 15, of Hagers-town, got an opportunity to throw with one of the Suns catchers in the bullpen and got some pointers from the Suns' pitching coach. He said the recognition and the opportunity to practice on the Municipal Stadium field meant a lot to him.

"I always dreamed about being out here playing," Stoner said.

The opposing team arrived before the young players got a turn to bat, but Captains Manager Aaron Holbert used some of his team's time on the field to pitch to the Little League and PONY League players.

"It was cool," said Federal first baseman and pitcher Zane Schreiber, who said his favorite part of the visit was seeing inside the clubhouse. "It was a good experience to hang out with the Suns players."

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