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 West Hempfield's Norris Wins All-West Honors

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By Keith Barnes
Thursday, July 17, 2008

West Hempfield shortstop Danny Norris wanted to gain some experience when he was chosen to play in the American Legion All-West Game. Instead, he walked away with top honors and a plaque.


Norris, who will enter his sophomore year at Penn State in the fall and will try to play for the elite club baseball team in the spring, was named the game's most valuable player and moves into the state championship, slated for Aug. 2-3 at Commerce Bank Park in Harrisburg. "I'm very excited for him," West Hempfield coach Bob Stokes said. "After four years of hard work, he deserves it."

American Legion All-Star tryouts are actually test drills with a simulated game thrown in for good measure. After a brief warm-up period, all players begin the day with a timed 60-yard dash and, following the sprints, they take the field for a typical pre-game practice, where they are judged on their fielding ability and situational arm strength.

When the preliminaries conclude, they begin the simulated game, where each pitcher throws an inning in which they face seven batters. Even if the hitters make an out, however, they still take first base so scouts can see both how the pitcher holds runners and to test the catchers' arms on throws to second.

Everyone has the chance to bat once, as the 28 batters on each side step into the batter's box according to their pre-assigned numbers. Outfielders are first, followed by shortstops, third basemen, second basemen, first basemen, catchers, then pitchers.

Players also take the field according to the numbers on their backs, with the lower numbers on each team at every position except pitcher given the chance to play defensively in both the first and fourth innings.

Norris ran his 60-yard dash in 7.0 seconds and also hit a home run to become the second player in team history to play in the East-West All-Star Game (Terry Riddle in 1999).

"Honestly, I didn't even know they had an MVP," Norris said. "I think I had a pretty good chance of making it (to the state game), but the home run is probably what got me the MVP."