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The 16U Frederick Hustlers made the 14-hour trek down Interstate-81 to South Haven, Mississippi a memorable one, beating Lufkin, Texas 9-5 and capturing the 2004 Junior Division World Series Championship. Along the way, the "boys from Frederick" beat the State Champions from LA, TX, FL, AL, and TN. Billy Gross and Aaron Main got the Hustlers off to a good start in game one scattering five hits and striking out eight in a 3-1 win over Vinemont, Alabama. Gross had the big hit in the third inning driving in two runs. Andrew Derr also had an RBI-single and Wes Gross had a double. Kyle Myers kept a very good N. Georgia Bandits squad off balance for four innings in game two - surrendering only a first inning RBI double as the Hustlers won 5-1. Billy Gross came in and slammed the door over the final three innings, striking out eight Georgia hitters. Gross had three hits and Philip Jordan doubled. Austin Vesper brought his "A" game to the mound in game three and dominated Terrabonne, Louisiana. Vesper recorded eight strikeouts in six innings as the Hustlers cruised to a 13-1 win. The Hustlers struck quickly; first inning highlights included doubles by Gross and Vesper, a "2-run bomb" from Philip Jordan, and an RBI-single from Wes Gross. Billy Gross and Jordan each finished with three hits. The win advanced the Hustlers to the winner's bracket championship where they would face last year's World Series champion - a very talented team from Bonifay, Florida. Ty Main's RBI double in the 2nd got the Hustlers going as Aaron Main and Billy Gross combined on another pitching gem. The Hustlers won a 5-2 nail-biter as Philip Jordan and Ty Main each had two hits. Mark Hammond and Billy Gross added doubles. Lufkin, Texas then beat Bonifay, Florida 7-5 in a thrilling loser's bracket championship game and earned the right to face the Hustlers. Lufkin, TX won game one 9-5 giving the Hustlers their first and only loss in the tournament, and forcing a final and deciding championship game. Kyle Myers and Austin Vesper split the first game pitching duties against Lufkin. The Hustler's only trailed 4-3 after five innings but three late fielding miscues turned the close game into a 9-3 Texas rout. Zach Converse had three hits, Billy Gross and Jordan had two hits and Ty Main had a double in the loss. Rather than panic, the Hustlers regrouped for the championship game and quietly demonstrated the qualities that define a champion. The Hustlers struck for six first innings runs with the big blows coming from Austin Vesper and Jesse Tome. The big story though was Aaron Main tossing a masterpiece and striking out nine for the 9-5 win and the series title. Billy Gross won tournament MVP honors - hitting an "unreal" .542 (13-24) and recording 14 strikeouts in 10-innings of mound work. Philip Jordan was equally hot hitting a torrid .524 (11-21). Zach Converse (7-17, .412), Ty Main (5-17, .294) and Austin Vesper (5-21, .238) rounded out the "Top Five" Hustler batting averages for the tournament. The storyline though was once again pitching and defense as Billy Gross, Aaron Main, Kyle Myers, and Austin Vesper pitched their hearts out.
Billy Gross and Aaron Main pitched back-to-back gems as the Hustlers qualified for the Dizzy Dean World Series in South Haven, Mississippi (held July 23rd-30th). Gross started things off by blanking the Funkstown Junior Legion for four innings, surrendering only two hits and striking out six. Gross left with a 6-0 lead only to see the scrappy Funkstown team score 3 late runs for the final 6-3 Hustler win. Mark Hammond, Billy Gross and Ty Main each had two hits - the big one being Ty's bases-loaded first inning single that plated two runs. Billy, Ty and Austin Vesper each had doubles. Not to be outdone, Aaron tossed four innings of two-hit ball as the Hustlers beat the Anne Arundel Braves 11-0 in the afternoon game. Mark Hammond had two hits but the game-changer this time was a bases-loaded double by Austin Vesper in the bottom of the first. Zach Converse and Wes Gross contributed big RBI singles in the Hustlers six run 3rd inning. The Hustlers advance to Sunday's State championship game against the Harford Sox with both the champion and runner-up at the MD State level earning berths to the World Series.