Cumberland Times-News

Mike Mathews - Sports

November 24, 2009

A dream became reality for many because of Femi


A field was built on Porter Street and the teams later joined Ellerslie, Barrelville, Corriganville and Hyndman in a six-team Pen-Mar League.

In five short years, the Pen-Mar League went from being built from scratch to sending an all-star team to the Maryland state championship game.

There’s a bit of story to that, too.

“The state finals had always been played in Frederick,’’ recalled Ted, a second baseman on the 1955 team. “But that year the game was lured to the Eastern Shore because the Chesapeake Bay Bridge had just opened. I think the organizers told dad how it would be a great experience for everyone to see it.”

Back then each team provided an umpire, which could sometimes be a difficult chore. As an added incentive for the Pen-Mar team to make the trip, both umpires were provided by the Eastern Shore organizers.

As it turned out, Easton won the game, 3-2, but not without a controversial ending.

“I think there were runners on first and third with two out and Johnny Strickland, of Cresaptown, hit a ground ball. But as he swung he also hit the catcher’s glove,’’ Ted said. “The catcher’s mitt ended up two-thirds of the way to the mound. But Johnny was thrown out at first and no catcher’s interference was called.

“And I remember the umpire ran out and shook hands with the pitcher afterward.”

Had the Pen-Mar all-stars won that game they needed only one more win to reach the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Ted remembers his dad protesting the game but because of schedules and the World Series approaching, it was deemed that there wouldn’t be enough time to replay the game.

The Maryland state champions were recognized at Memorial Stadium prior to an Orioles game later that year. Both teams were there that day. Easton lined up on the third-base line, and the Pen-Mar team lined up on the first-base line.

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