Four Quick Transactions


As you know, Brilliant Reader, ATVL pays attention to the waiver wire, and keeps track of Valley League alumni who make debuts, are traded, released, or otherwise move teams of designations in the world of professional baseball.

I have four to report on at the moment… (not including Yonder Alonso, who got his own article on

  • Rico Noel (Covington 2008) has been signed by the Houston Astros, and assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi. Rico is an ATVL favorite because he’s…so…..FAST. He’s stolen 407 total bases over all levels since he was drafted. Anyway, Rico spent a couple months in the majors with the Yankees in 2015. He last played for Lancaster in the Independent Atlantic League (where he stole 34 bases in 38 attempts).
  • Randy Dobnak (Front Royal 2015) was signed by the Minnesota Twins and assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League. Randy pitched in 6 games for the Utica Unicorns (seriously) of the Independent United Shore League.
  • Matt Hockenberry (Woodstock 2013) was released by the Phillies. Matt couldn’t seem to solve Double-A Reading, although he didn’t get much chance to. Matt went 5-1, 2.51 in 89 2/3 innings in High-A, and 0-0, 14.73 in 7 1/3 Double-A innings. (Reading is a bandbox, too)
  • Collin Cowgill (Covington 2005) was released by the San Diego Padres. He played in the majors for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland A’s, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels, and Cleveland Indians, putting up a 234/297/329 slash line and 4.0 WAR in 759 major league plate appearances. He’s been injured quite a bit this year; maybe he’ll get picked up by another organization.

All-League Selections Announced

Next up, the League’s announcement regarding the All-League teams…

Charlottesville’s Michael Wielansky and Purcellville’s Thomas Sutera took home the major awards as the VBL announced its 2017 All-League teams.

The vote of team and media representatives across the Valley resulted in a Division III infielder earning Player of the Year honors after leading the league in batting average, and a reliever taking home Pitcher of the Year recognition.

Wielansky (College of Wooster) hit .432- one of the highest batting averages of the league’s collegiate era, and did so on 155 at-bats- tied for third-most in the league.

The second baseman led the VBL in hits (69), doubles (18) and runs scored (38), while adding four triples, four home runs, 34 RBIs and 11 stolen bases.

Sutera (Siena College) was 6-0 with three saves and a 1.57 ERA in 15 relief appearances. He also had the win decision in the VBL’s victory over the SCBL in North Carolina and in a postseason game vs. Winchester, giving him an overall summer record of 8-0.

Sutera struck out 39 batters in 34.1 innings, scattering 26 hits and walking 10. He raised that performance to another level in the postseason, striking out 11 of the 12 batters he faced in four perfect innings.

The first team included New Market catcher Jake Washer, Purcellville first baseman Trevin Esquerra, New Market shortstop Nick Barber, Covington third baseman Bruce Strickland, and an outfield of Dominic Canzone (Front Royal), Jacob Rhinesmith (New Market) and Max Wood (Staunton).

The Valley was full of strong utility and designated hitter candidates this summer, with the top spots going to Charlottesville’s Rick Spiers (.333 batting average and 4-0 record on the mound) and Strasburg’s Brandon Quaranta (11 homers, 49 RBIs).

The first team pitching staff included Strasburg’s Benjamin Dum and Zach Peek, Charlottesville’s Sean McCracken, and Woodstock’s Nick Fuchs. Sutera was joined by Front Royal’s Joshua Andrews in the top reliever spots.

There were three repeat All-League selections this year. Quaranta, Dum and Woodstock’s Danton Hyman (a second team outfielder) were all first team honorees in 2016.


Most Valuable Player: Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville
Pitcher of the Year: Thomas Sutera, Purcellville

C: Jake Washer, New Market, East Carolina University (.346, 5 HR, 35 RBI)
1B: Trevin Esquerra, Purcellville, Loyola Marymount University (.362, 8 HR, 33 RBI)
2B: Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville, College of Wooster (.432, 4 HR, 34 RBI)
SS: Nick Barber, New Market, East Carolina University (.322, 2 HR, 21 RBI)
3B: Bruce Strickland, Covington, Felician College (.328, 4 HR, 27 RBI)
OF: Dominic Canzone, Front Royal, Ohio State University (.404, 3 HR, 23 RBI)
OF: Jacob Rhinesmith, New Market, Western Kentucky University (.369, 3 HR, 33 RBI)
OF: Max Wood, Staunton, University of Central Florida (.390, 5 HR, 21 RBI)
DH: Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg, Philadelphia University (.331, 11 HR, 49 RBI)
UTIL: Rick Spiers, Charlottesville, Randolph-Macon College (.333, 3 HR, 19 RBI; 4-0, 0.78 ERA, 27 K)
SP: Benjamin Dum, Strasburg, Virginia Commonwealth University (5-2, 2.77 ERA, 39 K)
SP: Nick Fuchs, Woodstock, Gannon University (3-3, 2.72 ERA, 53 K)
SP: Sean McCracken, Charlottesville, Johns Hopkins University (2-0, 1.65 ERA, 27 K)
SP: Zach Peek, Strasburg, Winthrop University (4-1, 1.80 ERA, 40 K)
RP: Joshua Andrews, Front Royal, Grand Canyon University (2-1, 0.68 ERA, 46 K, 2 SV)
RP: Thomas Sutera, Purcellville, Siena College (6-0, 1.57 ERA, 39 K, 3 SV)

C: Tony Beam, Harrisonburg, Texas-San Antonio (.375, 0 HR, 16 RBI)
1B: Luc Lipcius, Front Royal, University of Tennessee (.336, 4 HR, 21 RBI)
2B: Chase Sudduth, New Market, North Georgia College (.324, 2 HR, 25 RBI)
SS: Cash Gladfelter, Woodstock, Shippensburg University (.323, 1 HR, 15 RBI)
3B: Seth Woodard, Winchester, Old Dominion University (.333, 1 HR, 18 RBI)
OF: McClain Bradley, Waynesboro, Wofford College (.359, 2 HR, 18 RBI)
OF: Danton Hyman, Woodstock, Newberry College (.379, 1 HR, 27 RBI)
OF: Cody Wilson, Winchester, Florida Atlantic University (.336, 0 HR, 23 RBI)
DH: Vinnie Pasquantino, Charlottesville, Old Dominion University (.336, 4 HR, 30 RBI)
UTIL: Alec Aleywine, New Market, Gulf Coast Community College (.314, 3 HR, 33 RBI; 4-0, 3.82 ERA, 27 K)
SP: Daniel Collins, Winchester, Montreat College (1-3, 3.73 ERA, 47 K)
SP: Andy Crum, Purcellville, Shippensburg University (3-2, 2.00 ERA, 32 K)
SP: Payton Kinney, Waynesboro, Nebraska-Omaha (4-0, 3.40 ERA, 32 K)
SP: Marc Moclair, Front Royal, University of Tampa (2-2, 2.92 ERA, 46 K)
SP: Mason Studstill, Harrisonburg, Eastern Florida State College (4-0, 2.50 ERA, 31 K)
RP: Joe Burris, Charlottesville, Christopher Newport University (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 K, 4 SV)
RP: Drew Loepprich, Charlottesville, Wake Forest University (4-0, 0.72 ERA, 25 K, 0 SV)
RP: Nate Pawelczyk, Winthrop University, New Market (3-0, 0.55 ERA, 23 K, 3 SV)

(For full disclosure, ATVL had a vote this year.)

New Market and Charlottesville each placed 6 players on the combined lists. Front Royal has 4, Purcellville, Strasburg, Woodstock, and Winchester all have 3. Harrisonburg and Waynesboro have 2 each, and Covington and Staunton have 1.

Manager of the Year

The League’s press release naming Charlottesville’s Corey Hunt the Manager of the Year….

Charlottesville’s Corey Hunt has been named the Maynard “Mo” Weber Manager of the Year in a league vote.

Hunt led the Tom Sox to a dominant 32-10 record in his first year as a VBL head coach, and just the third season of the Tom Sox franchise.

The South pennant winning roster included VBL Player of the Year Michael Wielansky, eight South Division All-Stars, six total selections to the VBL’s Showcase All-Star team, and six All-VBL selections. He coached four different NCAA D-III players to All-Star or first team All-League recognition.

Charlottesville swept the past two pennant winners, Staunton and Waynesboro, in the South playoffs. They are trying to stave off elimination tonight however, after dropping Game 1 of the finals to defending champs Strasburg.

Currently the head coach at nearby Monticello High School, Hunt also played locally at MHS and the University of Virginia.

While at the University of Virginia, Hunt batted .337 in 101 career at-bats, which included 27 runs scored and 19 RBIs. In 2011, Hunt scored the winning run of the Charlottesville Super Regional, to send the Cavaliers to the College World Series. He coached the Monticello Mustangs to the 3A state semifinals in 2015.

The Maynard “Mo” Weber Coach of the Year Award was established in 2008. An educator and businessman, Weber coached baseball for more than 65 years. He was head coach at The College of William and Mary from 1964-65 and again from 1978-1981. When Weber stepped down from his coaching position in New Market at the age of 88 in 2011, his jersey, No. 1, was also retired. He was inducted into the Valley League Hall of Fame this summer.

Charlottesville plays for the franchise’s first VBL championship tonight!