A Short Discussion on the Relievers

It’s time for the relievers.

And as usual, the ranking process for this list was ridiculous. Let’s be clear- each and every reliever that will be listed over the next month had a very good Valley League season in 2017. But it’s still almost impossible to rank them, because many of them were very, very good at one aspect, but not all of them. (In other words, for example, maybe a pitcher walked almost no one, but their WHIP was higher, or struck out everyone, but walked too many…)

So ATVL did his level best to rank the top 15 relievers of the 2017 season. He used ERA, batting average against, WHIP, BB/9, and K/9, and innings pitched mattered, too (as will be discussed below). And votes for pitcher of the year mattered as well…..

There is a group of relievers who were excellent, but who will not be listed- all because of a lack of innings pitched in relief during the regular season. So ATVL will give them a mention here, so at least they get a (brief) moment in the sun….

Israel Fuentes, Waynesboro, from Faulkner University: Israel pitched in 3 games from June 22 through July 3rd, going 0-0, 0.00, with a 0.519 WHIP, 1.2 BB/9, and 7.0 K/9 over 7 2/3 innings.

Andrew Mahoney, Waynesboro, from Mississippi State: Andrew also pitched in only 7 2/3 innings, weirdly, in the same time frame as Fuentes: Mahoney pitched on June 27th and July 1st. He went 2-0, 0.00, with a 0.649 WHIP, 1.2 BB/9, and 11.7 K/9.

Christopher Farish, Harrisonburg, from Wake Forest: Christopher went 1-1, 2.16 in 7 games, with 2 of them starts. He threw 25 innings, with 13 of them as a starter. He ended with a 1.200 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, and 12.2 K/9. Perfect Game named him the 8th best prospect in the league.

Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg, from Philadelphia University: Brandon is best known as the masher in the middle of the Express lineup- the hitter who was named ATVL’s 2nd best hitter in the entire league in 2017. Brandon also pitched some in 2017; he threw 8 2/3 relief innings, going 0-0, 1.58, with a 0.973 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, and 11.2 K/9.

Nathan Pawelczyk, New Market, from Winthrop: Nathan turned heads in 2017; he was named 2nd team All-Valley as a relief pitcher, and Baseball America named him the 6th best prospect in the league. Nathan went 3-0, 0.55, with a 0.982 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, and 12.7 K/9, but he only pitched 10 1/3 innings as a reliever, and 6 innings as a starter.

Rick Spiers, Charlottesville and Randolph Macon: Rick pitched 23 innings in 2017, but only 7 of them as a reliever. He was fantastic overall, going 4-0, 0.78, with a 0.783 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, and 10.6 K/9. In fact, he was on the mound when the Tom Sox won the deciding third game of the championship series.




Plumlee, Zombro, Almonte Have Excellent Outings

Three former Valley Leaguers performed very well in their starts over the past half week or so. Let’s take a look!

  • Peyton Plumlee (Strasburg 2016) threw 6 excellent innings against Tennessee in Mississippi State’s 14-4 victory on Saturday. He allowed 5 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 walk, and struck out 6. For the season, he’s now 3-1, 2.84, with 30 hits, 8 walks, and 24 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Tyler Zombro (Staunton 2014) threw a complete game shutout against Fordham on Friday for George Mason. He allowed 6 hits, 0 walks, and struck out 1. He only threw 83 pitches in the 9 innings. Overall, he’s 1-3, 2.48, with 39 hits, 6 walks, and 27 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.
  • Abraham Almonte (Strasburg 2016) also threw a shutout, albeit “only” 7 innings, in the second game of a doubleheader for Philadelphia University against Caldwell on Saturday. He gave up 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 7. Overall, he’s now 2-1, 2.20, with 34 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings pitched.

Way to go, guys!

Plumlee, Valdes, and Valentin Also Off to Great Starts!

In the same vein as yesterday’s look at three former Valley Leaguers who are hitting well so far this college season, today we have three pitchers who are “shoving it,” so to speak, so far in 2017!

  • Erne Valdes (Front Royal 2016) has made four starts so far for St. Thomas, and has been lights out. He’s 4-0, 2.11 in 21 1/3 innings, while allowing only 14 hits, 10 walks, and striking out 35! That’s a K/9 of 14.79!
  • Brandon Valentin (Front Royal 2016) has also been excellent for St. Thomas. He’s 0-1, 1.00, with 2 saves, in 9 innings. He’s allowed 4 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 5.
  • Last but certainly not least, Peyton Plumlee (Strasburg 2016) has been awesome in his first two starts for Mississippi State. He’s 2-0, 0.64 in 14 innings, while allowing only 7 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 12.

Well done, guys!







#10 Starting Pitcher: Peyton Plumlee, Strasburg

Peyton Plumlee NW MS Comm CollegeAccording to ATVL, the 10th best starting pitcher in the 2016 Valley League season is Peyton Plumlee, from Strasburg and Mississippi State!

Peyton had an excellent summer for the league champs, going 5-0, 2.46 in 9 games (6 starts), with a 1.199 WHIP, 4.2 BB/9, and 7.4 K/9 in 36 2/3 innings pitched. He also started one game in the playoffs, in which he gave up 2 hits, 2 earned runs, 5 walks, and struck out 8 in a no-decision. His best start of the summer was on June 13 against Charlottesville, a 6-1 victory, when he allowed only 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, and struck out 3 in 6 innings. Peyton was named first team All-Valley League by the media and coaches after the season.

Peyton spent his 2016 college season at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he went 6-2, 4.58 in 55 innings, while allowing 57 hits, 23 walks, and striking out 53. He started 9 games and appeared in one out of the bullpen.

Now Peyton is at Mississippi State, and we’ll see how his excellent summer translates into his sophomore season!


#3 Hitter: Tanner Poole, Waynesboro

Tanner Poole Miss St 2016Welcome to the top three 2016 Valley League hitters!

Our 3rd best hitter is Mississippi State’s Tanner Poole, who was a consistent run producer in the Waynesboro General lineup.

In 41 games and 156 at-bats, Tanner hit 333/467/558, with 49 runs scored, 27 RBIs, 52 hits, 7 doubles, 5 triples, 6 home runs, 27 walks, and 21 stolen bases. He finished in the top 8 of 10 different hitting categories! Here they are: 1st in runs scored, tied for 1st in triples, 2nd in on-base percentage, 3rd in hits and slugging percentage, tied for 3rd in walks and stolen bases, tied for 4th in home runs, tied for 7th in RBIs, and 8th in batting average. Wow.

His two top games were tremendous. First of all, he went 4-5, with 2 runs, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs and a stolen base against Staunton on June 30th. Secondly, he went 5-5 against Front Royal on June 14, with 2 runs, a home run, 2 RBIs, and a walk. He also hit a home run in the all-star game in Harrisonburg, and then went 3-24 with another home run in the playoffs. He was named first team All-Valley in the outfield after the season, Baseball America tagged him as the 5th best pro prospect in the league, and Perfect Game had him at #2.

The proof in in the stats: Tanner has produced exceptionally well every season he’s played. In 2014, at Itawamba Community College, he hit 353/420/504 in 119 at-bats, while leading his team with 3 triples and 10 stolen bases. He was named Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State.

The next year, in the 2015 season, he hit even better, finishing 378/447/643 in 143 at-bats. He led the Itawamba team in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs (46), hits (54), doubles (12), triples (4), home runs (6), RBIs (29), and stolen bases (26). He was again named MACJC All-State, and also NJCAA All-Region. Tanner will play for Mississippi State this spring.

Congratulations on your excellent summer, Tanner!










(Michelle L. Mitchell/News Virginian)

(Michelle L. Mitchell/News Virginian)

Playoffs Day 7; Wednesday August 3

Now we’re down to one series left….


Strasburg 12, Front Royal 4 (Express win series, 2-1. The Express scored 4 runs in the 2nd, 5th, and 8th innings to leave no doubt about the victor in the elimination game 3 with Front Royal.)

Hitter of the Day

Jeffery Scott Lincoln TrailThe HOD is Jeffery Scott, from Strasburg and Bowling Green State! Jeffery, transferring from Lincoln Trail, went 2-4, with 2 runs, 4 RBIs, a triple, and a home run. Jeffery is hitting 267/353/733 in 15 at-bats in the playoffs, and hit 245/350/429 in 98 at-bats in the regular season. This Express lineup is roaring into the finals like a…. freight train. (Sorry, I had to.)

Others of Note

Martin Napleton, Front Royal: 2-4, 2 runs, RBI, HR
Haiden Lamb, Strasburg: 2-5, 2 runs
Erick Delgado, Strasburg: 2-5, run, RBI, 2B
Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg (On this list every day, it seems): 2-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2B, HR

Pitcher of the Day

It’s Keegan James, Strasburg’s starter, who is enrolled at Mississippi State. Keegan threw 7 innings, and allowed 6 Keegan James Miss St 2016hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, and struck out 7. He earned a game score of 55. Keegan is now 2-0, 2.76 in the playoffs, after going 1-0, 3.41 in 26.1 innings in the regular season.

Other of Note

Abraham Almonte, Strasburg: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K’s

Tonight’s Game

Waynesboro (TBD) at Strasburg (TBD)- game one of the championship series. Did you know that this is the first time that the top two teams are facing each other in the finals since 2003? And even then, three teams tied for the 2nd best record. In 2001 the top two faced each other, but there were only 8 teams and 2 rounds of playoffs back then.

Playoffs, Day 2: Friday, July 30

All four games were played last night! One series has ended already, two of the others have the underdog up 1-0, and one top seed held serve (to use a tennis metaphor).

Here we go:


Front Royal 6, Winchester 5 (10 innings- down 5-3 in the top of the 9th, with 2 outs and no one on base, the Cardinals put together 3 singles and an error to tie the game. Then in the 10th, Clay Hunt and Joey Mundy hit back-to-back doubles to defeat the higher-seeded Royals. The Cards will try to finish things off tonight at home.)

Strasburg 16, Purcellville 6 (The Express hit 2 doubles and 4 home runs to crush the Cannons in game one of their series. Strasburg was up 14-0 after 6 innings. See below for who put up these crazy numbers.)

Waynesboro 11, Staunton 6 (Generals finish off the Braves in a sweep. This was an odd one- the score was 3-2 after 7 innings, but then both teams erupted to score a combined 12 runs over the last 12 outs. Again, see below to see who did the most damage. Waynesboro now waits for the winner of the Covington-Harrisonburg series.)

Covington 8, Harrisonburg 6 (Down 6-4 going into the 8th, the Jacks erupted for 4 runs, thanks to two home runs and a double. The Jacks now try to finish the series off at home tonight.)

Hitter(s) of the Day

Two hitters had almost exactly the same night, so, for today, we have two hitters of the day!

  • Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg and Philadelphia University: 3-4, 4 runs, 5 RBIs, walk, and 2 home runs
  • Zach Sterry, Waynesboro and Oakland University: 3-4, 4 runs, 5 RBIs, hit-by-pitch, 2 home runs, and one stolen base.

See what I mean? Almost identical hitting lines. If these two keep this up, the Express and the Generals are going to be hard to beat (and will eventually play each other in the finals, too).

Brandon Quaranta

Brandon Quaranta

Zach Sterry

Zach Sterry






Others of Note

Michael Hartnagel, Front Royal: 3-5, run, 3B
Joey Mundy, Front Royal: 3-5, 2 runs, 2B
Clay Hunt, Front Royal: 2-4, run, RBI, 2 2B
Jarrett Clymer, Purcellville: 2-3, RBI, BB, 2 2B
Erick Delgado, Strasburg: 2-3, 4 runs, BB, 2B, HBP, 2 SB
Michael Curry, Strasburg: 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, BB, 2B
Jacob Tisevich, Strasburg: 2-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, HR
Andrew Bullock, Waynesboro: 2-5, run, 3 RBIs, HR
Andrew Kuwalo, Staunton: 2-5, run, 2 RBIs, HR
Jose Carrera, Covington: 2-5, 2 runs, RBI, 2B, SB
Juan Given, Covington: 3-5, run, 3 RBIs, HR
Brandon Vicens, Covington: 2-5, 2 runs, RBI, 2B, HR
Jason Serchay, Harrisonburg: 2-4, 2 RBIs

Pitcher(s) of the Day

Similar to the hitters of the day, we also have a tie for the best pitcher of the evening (with another starter pretty close, too). Both of these young men ended up with a game score of 69:

  • Blake Whitney, Front Royal and USC Upstate: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K’s, no decision
  • Keegan James, Strasburg and Mississippi State: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K’s, win

This is the 3rd time Blake is POD, while it’s the 2nd time for Keegan.

Blake Whitney

Blake Whitney

Keegan James

Keegan James







Other of Note

John Lollar, Winchester: 8 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K’s (65)

Tonight’s Games

Strasburg (Benjamin Dum) at Purcellville (Pat Doudican) (Strasburg up 1-0)
Harrisonburg (Brandon Caples) at Covington (Orlando Cannon) (Covington up 1-0)
Winchester (Joey Jones) at Front Royal (Jacob Ramos) (Front Royal up 1-0)