Teenage Showdown Coming to Hagerstown
One of the best baseball showdowns of the season will begin 6 days from now when the Delmarva Shorebirds come to Hagerstown to play the Suns in a four game series. If you’re wondering how in the world a South Atlantic League series is worthy of such hype consider the following: This is an in-state rivalry pitting a team from Maryland’s Eastern Shore against a team from the mountains of Western Maryland. The teams are affiliated with the two local major league franchises; the Shorebirds with the Baltimore Orioles and the Suns with the Washington Nationals. Both teams are hot: The Suns have won 5 in a row while the Shorebirds have won 9 straight. Both teams stand at 16-9, two games behind Northern Division leading Hickory.
Oh. And then there’s the fact that the #1 overall 2010 draft pick, Bryce
Harper will bat third for the Suns while the #3 overall draft pick, Manny Machado will bat third for the Shorebirds. The two teenagers got off to relatively slow starts, but are mauling opposing pitchers now. Harper is batting .355 with a club leading 6 homers, 20 RBI, and a 1.153 OPS. Meanwhile, Machado is hitting .349 with 5 homers, 21 RBIs and a 1.102 OPS. The young shortstop who has been compared to, and mentored by Alex Rodriguez was named the Sally League Player of the Week for April 25–May1, hitting some tape-measure home runs during that stretch.
The showdown takes place May 9-12 and Sally League fans would do well to get out to Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium and catch this match up while they can, as neither Harper nor Machado figures to be around low A ball much longer. Of course, the next stop on the ladder would be the Potomac Nationals for Harper and the Frederick Keys for Machado. Fortunately, for fans of this budding rivalry, both teams are in the high A Carolina League, the former in Virginia and the latter in Maryland. A mere 70 miles separate the two towns. Orioles and Nationals fans are dreaming of the day when this rivalry will be carried on in Baltimore and Washington, perhaps in the World Series.