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Adenhart on the minds of crowd at PONY League opening ceremonies

April 25, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Players listen Sunday to the national anthem during opening ceremonies for the Hagerstown PONY League at the field along Jefferson Street. From left are Casey Bartholomew, Sloane Bendell, Andrew Spitz and Kyle Dinterman.
By Kelly Hahn Johnson/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- The memory of local baseball standout Nick Adenhart weighed heavily on the minds of those attending the opening ceremony Sunday for the Hagerstown PONY League.

Adenhart, the Williamsport High School graduate and Los Angeles Angels player who died April 9, 2009, in a car crash in Fullerton, Calif., played in the Hagerstown PONY League in 2000 and 2001.

People who coached Adenhart, and those who were friends with Adenhart and his family took turns on the Hagerstown PONY League field along Jefferson Street remembering the pitcher who was called a "dream" to coach.

They recalled Adenhart's traits as a good listener, always being respectful, being a serious student of the game and having a "great smile."

"You could really sense something special developing," said Wayne Hose, who coached Adenhart. "Nick gave me so many baseball memories that I will treasure forever."

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Dave Warrenfeltz, a friend of Adenhart's family, recalled neighborhood whiffle ball and football games, and some broken windows. The loss of Adenhart is something the community is never going to forget, Warrenfeltz said.

"He reached the pinnacle of the sport. It was a great experience for those fortunate to watch it," Warrenfeltz said.

Following the comments, the crowd turned its attention to a plaque at the field complex that paid tribute to Adenhart.

The first two games for Hagerstown PONY League, which is for boys and girls ages 13 and 14, were played Saturday, said league President Jack Miller. Two games were scheduled to be played after the ceremony.

The league has eight teams with 15 members each, all of whose names were read during Sunday's ceremony as the players lined up on the field.

A crowd watched from the bleachers and a group of dignitaries including Washington County Commission President John F. Barr, Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, also participated.

"Good things are always happening in Washington County and this is one of them," Munson said.

The bittersweet memories of Adenhart mixed with the dreams of new players coming into the league.

Tom Altman, who was watching the ceremony from the bleachers, said his grandson is playing in the Hagerstown PONY League this year. Altman, whose son also played in the league, had high hopes for his grandson, J.T. Altman.

"It's a fine league. We did well with (my son) and we expect to do well with J.T.," Altman said.

On April 10, the Halfway Little League got under way on the Nicholas James Adenhart Memorial Field, where Adenhart played.

There was talk about how extra efforts were made to manicure that field, and each player and coach from the 15 teams in major, minor and T-ball divisions had "NA" stitched on the sides of their caps in Adenhart's honor.

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