Keller: Hagerstown B will always file their memories by letter

August 03, 2011|By MARK KELLER
  • Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor
Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor

The 1980 U.S. hockey team.

The 1969 New York Jets.

The 1983 N.C. State men’s basketball team.

Most sports fans would recognize those three teams among the biggest upset winners in their respective sports.

The Hagerstown PONY B All-Stars aren’t likely to be remembered in the same way as those teams, but boy, oh boy ... will those players and coaches have a story to tell for years to come?

“Do you remember that tournament when we beat the A team? Twice?!?”

And they will remember. There’s no doubt about that.

On Saturday, the Hagerstown PONY League’s second all-star team beat its top all-star team in the East Zone West Region Tournament in Boardman, Ohio.

It was the first time the B team had ever beaten the A team. So, on Sunday, just to prove it was no fluke, the B team did it again, this time to win the region title and a trip to the East Zone Tournament in Manchester, N.H.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. But it did.

For as long as the PONY League has had two all-star teams — for some time, the league fielded A, B and C teams — the B teams have wanted a shot at the A teams. Some players on the B team would feel they should have made the A team and wanted a chance to prove they belonged.

But when the time came for the teams to play, the A team always won. This year, when the A and B teams played twice in the Section tournament, the A team won handily twice.

Even in Ohio, it looked like the A team would once again get the better of the lesser regarded B team, leading by two runs with two outs in the seventh inning Saturday.

The B team scored three and won. And Sunday’s victory was similar, scoring twice in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. But it did.

It might never happen this way again. Two weekends ago, the A team was clearly the better team. Last weekend, it was the B team.

Was it fate? Was it luck? Was it coaching? Did the B team just catch lightning in a bottle last weekend?

And will it happen again this week, when there’s a trip to the PONY World Series on the line?

Either way, they’ll have a heck of a story to share.

Guys love to tell sports stories. More than that, guys love to tell sports stories about themselves.

As they get older, the stories become more like fishing tales.

The home runs they hit went 375 feet instead of 300.

The shoestring tackle they made was actually a tooth-rattling hit.

After a while, the guy isn’t really sure if he’s still embellishing or remembering how things actually happened.

The Hagerstown B All-Stars won’t have to rely on embellishment when they tell their story.

The tale is already improbable enough with no exaggeration at all.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7728 or by email at keller@herald-mail.

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