Suns lose but still treat thousands of youngsters

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — It was Education Day at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium.

[cleeng_content id="624683406" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]In a rare mid-morning game, the first-place Suns faced the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the South Atlantic League pennant chase. Suns’ management invited school children from all around the area to attend free of charge, and with a box lunch provided along with onfield games where prizes could be had.

The children began pouring in about an hour before the 10:35 a.m. start. The youngsters came in bunches. Dressed in shirts of different colors for each class, at least 400 of the youthful students came from Widmyer Elementary School in Berkeley Springs.

Woolie entertains the children at Hagerstown Suns games.

Woolie entertains the children at Hagerstown Suns games.

There was a group from Musselman Middle School. Mercersburg Elementary children came down from Pennsylvania. The state of Maryland was represented by St. Mary’s Catholic school and they numbered at least 200.

Boonsboro Middle, Smithsburg High, North Hagerstown High, South Hagerstown High and others nearly filled all the available seats.

The baseball game was mostly just an afterthought to the children. The shirts of the legion of youngsters from Widmyer read “Widmyer Elementary Field Trip 2013”.

And those hundreds of young students from Morgan County made the most of their outing — claiming baseballs, free tickets, free shirts, and hats as rewards for their efforts in games and general participation.

Enthusiasm was the catchword of the day. Competitive cheers among the various groups of youngsters were led by a regular Suns’ fan with a small megaphone and the ability to whistle “charge” for the large crowd of willing followers.

The children’s behavior was more ruly than the Suns’ defense showed in the third inning when the Grasshoppers scored five unearned runs. Those runs were enough to get Greensboro a 6-2 win in the last game of a three-game series. Hagerstown had won the other two games.

Hagerstown had just seven hits and could score only in the fourth inning. Ramon Del Orbe pitched five innings to get his first win of the season. Jheyson Manzueta and Frank Reed went four scoreless innings to close it out for Greensboro.

The Grasshoppers boarded their bus, headed for the next Sally League city, in mid-afternoon. The Suns still had a three-game lead in the circuit’s North Division.

Education Day had been a pizza-stained success at the old ball yard.

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