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Two Maryland District 1 Little League staff members recognized for 80 combined years of service

September 05, 2013|By HOLLY SHOK | holly.shok@herald-mail.com
  • Doug Ellis, left, is congratulated by Larry Hammond, District 1 Administrator after Elllis was given a plaque for his years of service to the LIttle League District.
By Ric Dugan / Staff Photographer

They should have seen it coming, given their more than 80 combined years of dedication to local baseball.

But longtime Maryland District 1 Little League staff members Jay Stouffer and Doug Ellis were not ready for a curveball Thursday night in Hagerstown at the league’s annual appreciation dinner, where the two men — much to their surprise — were the guests of honor.

Both the 77-year-old Stouffer of Maugansville and the 69-year-old Ellis of Frostburg, Md., were presented plaques at the dinner held at Barefoot Bernie’s restaurant.

Ellis, who retired last year from his position as the league’s west adviser after about 20 years on the staff, has served as a volunteer little league umpire for 44 years.

“It meant everything,” Ellis said of baseball. “Just to have a chance to work with the kids and help keep the leagues where they should be, teach them right from wrong.” 

About 26 league staff members and their spouses were on hand for the event.

“We’re just here to say thank you,” District Administrator Larry Hammond said. “This is a volunteer organization, and we do it for the community, we put in untold hours ... (this dinner is) just a little thank you to say, ‘Hey, the kids liked it, the parents liked it, the community liked it.’”

From 1981 to 1997, Stouffer served as administrator for the district that at the time encompassed 15 to 17 leagues in Washington, Garrett and Allegany counties.

He served in various other roles and will retire from his volunteer position as senior-junior league assistant district administrator this year.

But his ties to baseball can be traced back even further.

Stouffer was the founder of Maugansville Little League in 1974 and is the namesake of the league’s field.

“I proposed to build a ballfield, and two contractors said, ‘You’ll never build a ballfield there, it’s too marshy,’” Stouffer said, recalling the founding of the town’s little league. “I said: ‘Well, I’d like the opportunity to try.’”

Stouffer, his wife, Betty, daughter, Penny, and son, Jay Jr., were later dubbed “the first family of Maugansville baseball,” when the small Washington County town hosted the Maryland 11-12 State Tournament in 2011, according to The Herald-Mail’s archives.

Stouffer — who also spearheaded the Challenger League for children and young adults with special needs in 1990 — currently serves as vice president of Maugansville Little League and has been on the board since its inception.

“It’s something — I wasn’t expecting that,” Stouffer said of his being honored Thursday.

Currently, there are 12 leagues in the district, all of which are in Washington County.

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