Emmitsburg Little League District II Champions – 1985
In a 1985 Frederick News-Post (FNP)article, FNP sports reporter, Dave Ammenheuser (1980 Catoctin High School graduate and present-day sports editor for USA Today) gave an interesting depiction about the talent of Emmitsburg Little League championship pitchers in the opening paragraph of his article, “Emmitsburg, NL, AL Win,” stating, “Emmitsburg Little League Manager Don Kaas has something Baltimore Orioles’ Manager Earl Weaver doesn’t. Pitching.”
The Emmitsburg Little League team that year was managed by Don Kaas, coached by Sam Topper, and the league president was Tom Ryan. AllStar players included Gene Valentine, Joel Grinder, Dwight Baumgardner, Chris Stahley, Tony Orndorff, Brian Dugan, Eddie Wantz, Brian Cool, Pat Valenti, Brian Hemler, Joe Andrew, Chris Wantz, Pat Topper, and Kevin Shorb. This team earned the first of title baseball wins for the Emmitsburg Little League. Emmitsburg first joined the National Little League program in 1957.
On the way to the championship, team pitchers, Gene Valentine and Joel Grinder, both pitched shutouts in games leading up to the championship contest. Along the way, Emmitsburg downed Westminster 14-0 in a game where FNP’s reporter Bill Cauley wrote, “Gene Valentine tossed a masterful one-hitter and came within two batters of fanning every batter he faced while his teammates hammered out 11 hits, including four home runs…”
Emmitsburg continued on the winning path to take Brunswick 3-0, where Joel Grinder became Emmitsburg’s second pitcher in two games to throw a shutout in the tournament.
This dynamically talented pitching duo was backed up by talented teammates.
In another FNP article, League President Tom Ryan said, “This is a low-keyed team. These players play sound, fundamental baseball. We may not hit the ball hard, but the players do what they have to do to win on the field.”
Team Manager Don Kaas added, “Everyone on this team makes a contribution. It takes the overall team effort to win, and that’s what we do.”
During the tournament championship game in Emmitsburg, there were so many spectators that Bob Saylor, a constant force within the league as former league president and concession-stand manager, ran out of ice for the snow cone machine. This had never happened before.
Emmitsburg beat the American Little League of Frederick 12-0 for the district tournament championship. After the win, it seemed every resident in town had come out for the game, celebration, and victory parade.
The Emmitsburg Little League District 2 AllStars in 1985 were Gene Valentine, Joel Grinder, Dwight Baumgardner, Chris Stahley, Tony Orndorff, Brian Dugan, Eddie Wantz, Brian Cool, Pat Valenti, Brian Hemler, Joe Andrew, Chris Wantz, Pat Topper, and Kevin Shorb. The League President was Tom Ryan, Team Manager Donnie Kaas, and Coach Sam Topper.