The All-Star Gala

Yesterday, over 50 Valley Leaguers gathered for the yearly All-Star game, held in Harrisonburg.

After batting practice, the position players went down the left field line to run the 60-yard dash, held in front of a number of scouts. The winner, to no one’s surprise, was Staunton’s Jay Charleston, whose time was listed at 6.4 seconds.

Next came the home run derby. It was a battle for two rounds, but then Strasburg’s Brandon Quaranta found his rhythm, and won the contest going away.

Brandon was tied with New Market’s Jake Washer with 4 home runs after the first two rounds, but Quaranta wowed the crowd with 12 longballs in the final round, ending the competition. In fact, after Brandon hit his 8th home run, Washer’s teammates started gently heckling Quaranta from the left field stands, as they realized the battle was over.

Quaranta ended up with 16 total home runs, Washer 8, Andrew Zban (Purcellville) 3, and Trevin Esquarra (Purcellville) and Tyler Martin (Strasburg) each hit one.

The second class of VBL Hall of Famers came next. Four of the inductees, Wayne Comer, Bo Trumbo, Sam Perlozzo, and Mo Weber, were in attendance. Each received a plaque that will be displayed in New Market, the home of the VBL Hall of Fame. Each present inductee also received a few minutes in between innings to speak to the crowd. (John Kruk, C.C. Michael, and Earl Shirkey were also inducted in absentia.)

The game itself saw the pitchers mostly dominate. As is often the case when pitchers throw one inning each, they can show their best stuff, and last night was no exception. The South’s nine pitchers remained unblemished, striking out 12 total batters, even though the North had a few baserunners throughout.

The South scored the only run it would really need in the 6th inning, when Payton Robertson singled and stole second, Joseph Bellini also singled, and Eric Jones hit a broken-bat grounder to bring Robertson home. The team scored twice more in the 8th, one on Caleb Walls’s RBI single, and the other on Kyle Battle’s single. In the 9th, Luke Robinson scored on a wild pitch, and Robertson scored again, this time on an Eric Jones double play grounder.

Ty Andrus (Harrisonburg and Wingate) was named the South’s MVP, as he went 4-5, and Danton Hyman (Woodstock and Newberry) was the North’s, as he also had a multi-hit game.

Many, many pictures to come!

(Click here to read the Valley League’s story on the game.)

 

Want to Know Where Current Pro Players Are From?

What a terrible title, but we’re going with it.

I’ve started working on a new project, one I should finish this weekend- I’m listing all pro players, both current and “retired,” by Valley League team (and within that, by season).

It’s always been fascinating to me to have this conversation- which teams have the most pro players? I was having a conversation with Staunton’s Steve Cox about a week ago, and I mentioned the 2006 New Market Rebels- the team that went 32-10 in the regular season. Right away, we were naming players from that squad- Joey Butler, Brandon Dickson, Gerard Haran….

So I was able to enter the current pro players yesterday, and I noticed something- some teams have tons of alumni playing, while others….. do….. not.

So I had to count them, of course. Ready? (By the way, I did not count Indy Ball players, OR foreign players)

  1. Harrisonburg Turks- 34
  2. Staunton Braves- 24
  3. Front Royal Cardinals- 19 (Hunter Newman was just released- bummer)
  4. Purcellville/Charles Town Cannons- 16
  5. Waynesboro Generals- 15
  6. Luray Wranglers and Winchester Royals- 14
  7. Haymarket/Aldie Senators- 12
  8. Covington Lumberjacks and Woodstock River Bandits- 10
  9. New Market Rebels and Strasburg Express- 8
  10. Charlottesville Tom Sox- 4

A couple thoughts here. First, Strasburg came into existence in 2011, and Charlottesville in 2015. Their numbers are smaller, most probably, for that reason.

Not to be too critical, but the number from New Market, Covington, and Woodstock is a little bit shocking. When you see Haymarket/Aldie with more even though the team folded after 2015….

And Luray still has 15 active, even though they were sold and moved after the 2012 season.

Of course, this can change very quickly- in fact, any of these teams could have free agents signed at any time.

Thoughts? Get a thread going!

League Release #2: Showcase Roster

And here is the roster of players heading to North Carolina for the summer showcase!

The Valley Baseball League has announced its traveling All-Star roster for the inaugural Southern Collegiate Showcase in Kannapolis, N.C.

The Southern Collegiate Showcase will feature the Southern Collegiate Baseball League, Valley Baseball League, Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, Sunbelt League and Florida Collegiate Summer League in a weekend event that will allow both fans and scouts to see some of the best baseball talent in the Southeast. The event will be held July 15-16 at Intimidators Stadium- the home of the Kannapolis Intimidators, a Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

The coaching staff will include Harrisonburg’s Bob Wease, Strasburg’s Butch Barnes, Purcellville’s Brett Fuller, Staunton’s George Laase, and Waynesboro’s Matt Williams.

While the regular Valley League All-Star Game guarantees at least one pitching and positional selection for every team and weighs that summer’s stats more heavily, for the Showcase the league sought to pick the best possible roster to both compete for three wins and highlight the VBL’s future professional prospects for the many scouts expected to be in attendance.

The coaching staff selected three catchers- Harrisonburg’s Tony Beam (Texas-San Antonio), Charlottesville’s Brandon Johnson (Richmond) and New Market’s Jake Washer (East Carolina)- and 16 pitchers as part of the 30-man squad.

The roster also reflects some of the great versatility in the Valley this summer. Purcellville’s Trevin Esquerra (Loyola Marymount) has played both first base and third base this season, and University of Tennessee outfielders Jay Charleston (Staunton) and Luc Lipcius (Front Royal) can also play infield. Strasburg slugger Brandon Quaranta (Philadelphia U) has a perfect 0.00 ERA in four relief appearances, and starting pitchers Deacon Medders (Staunton, Alabama) and Rick Spiers (Charlottesville, Randolph-Macon) lead their team in at least one major hitting category. These players set the VBL team up well should emergency roster situations arise over the course of 27+ innings in two days.

The Valley League is slated to open up the Showcase against the SCBL at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and play three games over two days.

2017 VBL SOUTHERN COLLEGIATE SHOWCASE ROSTER
LHP: Joshua Andrews, Front Royal, Grand Canyon University
LHP: Joe Burris, Charlottesville, Christopher Newport University
RHP: Chris Farish, Harrisonburg, Wake Forest University
RHP: Davis Kirkpatrick, Harrisonburg, East Carolina University
RHP: Conner Loeprich, Waynesboro, St. Mary’s College
RHP: Deacon Medders, Staunton, University of Alabama
RHP: Nate Pawelczyk, New Market, Winthrop University
RHP: Zach Peek, Strasburg, Winthrop University
LHP: Andrew Perez, Waynesboro, University of South Florida
RHP: Keven Pimentel, New Market, University of Tampa
RHP: Daniel Rivero, Staunton, University of Miami
RHP: Evan Sperling, Charlottesville, University of Virginia
RHP: Rick Spiers, Charlottesville, Randolph-Macon College
LHP: Grant Stewart, Harrisonburg, Florida State University
RHP: Thomas Sutera, Purcellville, Siena College
RHP: Daniel Tolano, Waynesboro, Tennessee Wesleyan College

C: Tony Beam, Harrisonburg, Texas-San Antonio
C: Brandon Johnson, Charlottesville, University of Richmond
C: Jake Washer, New Market, East Carolina University
1B: Vinnie Pasquantino, Charlottesville, Old Dominion University
1B/3B: Trevin Esquerra, Purcellville, Loyola Marymount University
2B: Mike Wielansky, Charlottesville, College of Wooster
SS: Cash Gladfelter, Woodstock, Shippensburg University
SS: Antwaun Tucker, Staunton, Longwood University
3B: Brendan Venter, Harrisonburg, Auburn University
OF: Ty Andrus, Harrisonburg, Wingate University
OF: Jay Charleston, Staunton, University of Tennessee
OF: Luc Lipcius, Front Royal, University of Tennessee
OF: Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg, Philadelphia University
OF: Cody Wilson, Winchester, Florida Atlantic University

Head Coach: Bob Wease
Assistant Coaches: Butch Barnes, Brett Fuller, George Laase, Matt Williams

League Release #1: Leadership Change

The league has sent ATVL two releases for public consumption. The first, this one, outlines the midseason change of leadership in the VBL. The second is the roster for the upcoming summer showcase in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Here is the change of leadership:

Following the retirement of Don Lemish, the Valley Baseball League Board of Directors has elected Bruce Alger as the new VBL President and Commissioner.

“52 years ago I started my tenure in the Valley Baseball League hanging numbers on the old scoreboard at Rebel Park,” said Alger. “I never could have dreamed or even imagined the day would come that I would be selected as League Commissioner and President. It’s been a fantastic journey over the years that has left me with many wonderful memories. It has become one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifetime.”

“I have served as the Executive Vice President of the Valley Baseball League for over ten years under two outstanding leaders, Dave Biery and Don Lemish,” Alger added. “Although they each had different and very distinct management skills, I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from each of them. I can easily incorporate that knowledge, and the success the league gained from that, into my own leadership characteristics as I strive to continue the positive momentum that has been passed on to me in promoting the Valley Baseball League nationwide. I very humbly accept the responsibilities and importance of the position in reaching for that goal.”

Lemish, who joined the league as Assistant to the President in 2011 and took over operations as President and Commissioner in November 2012, announced last week to the Board of Directors his intent to retire immediately.

Lemish said his age and a desire to spend more time with grandchildren at a second home in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. weighed heavily on his decision to retire from the position. He indicated it would not be prudent to try to run the league from such a distance.

Lemish cited the league’s Board of Directors as a group of “hard-working, baseball-loving, knowledgeable, volunteers who give so much of themselves for so little credit.” Their work and advice have made running the league a “special joy.”

Alger echoed that praise of the league’s staff and team representatives. “I have a tremendous group of high-quality, community leaders with the utmost integrity, serving as Officers and Board members,” he said. “They do the right things for the right reasons and I am looking forward to working with each of them as we attempt to raise the bar as a league united in accepting the challenges that await us. It is a very exciting opportunity as well as a significant challenge to take what is already a very successful organization to the next level. It will be a pleasure and honor for me to lead the charge as I represent all of the organizations and their people within the Valley Baseball League to the executives of the National Association of Collegiate Summer Baseball, Major League Baseball and beyond.”

All Star Teams Announced

It’s that time of year again, when the best and brightest from the different divisions come together for a day of festivities.

Here is the release from the league:

Rosters have been announced for the 2017 Valley Baseball League All-Star Game, which will feature the best players from the North and South Divisions this season.

The 2017 Valley League All-Star Game will be held on Sunday, July 9 at James Madison University’s Veterans Memorial Park.

The Valley League will also be taking a traveling all-star team made up of some of the league’s top-rated prospects to the Southern Collegiate Showcase in Kannapolis, N.C. on July 15-16. That roster will be announced on Wednesday.

The North squad is comprised of players from Front Royal, New Market, Purcellville, Strasburg, Winchester and Woodstock. The South squad consists of athletes from Charlottesville, Covington, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro. Each squad includes 25 players.

The North team will be managed by Purcellville’s Brett Fuller and the South by Charlottesville’s Corey Hunt. Managers of the rosters were determined by the highest teams in the standings at the conclusion of games through Sunday, July 2.

The lone returning VBL All-Star from last season is Woodstock’s Danton Hyman- a repeat selection in the North outfield.

Batting practice and autograph/photo sessions for young fans will take place from 3:10-4:45 p.m. The 60 yard dash contest will be held at 4:50 p.m. and the Home Run Derby (participants still to be announced) is at 5:20 p.m. Player introductions will be at 7:15 p.m. with first pitch set for 7:30 p.m.

The evening will also feature the second class of the Valley Baseball League Hall of Fame, which will be introduced at 7:00 p.m. This year’s inductees are Wayne Comer, John Kruk, Claude “C.C.” Michael, Sam Perlozzo, Earl Shirkey, Marion “Bo” Trumbo and Maynard “Mo” Weber.

NORTH ROSTER
LHP: Joshua Andrews, Front Royal, Grand Canyon University
RHP: Nick Fuchs, Woodstock, Gannon University
RHP: Lawson Humphries, Strasburg, Georgia Southern University
RHP: Christopher Koppenhaver, Winchester, Broward College
RHP: Nate Pawelczyk, New Market, Winthrop University
RHP: Zach Peek, Strasburg, Winthrop University
LHP: Ryan Ruggles, Front Royal, Alabama-Birmingham
RHP: Thomas Sutera, Purcellville, Siena College
RHP: Dalton Whitaker, Purcellville, Winthrop University
C: Jake Perry, Strasburg, Lipscomb University
C: Jake Washer, New Market, East Carolina University
1B: Alec Aleywine, New Market, Gulf Coast Community College
1B: Trevin Esquerra, Purcellville, Loyola Marymount University
2B: Derrick Herd, Woodstock, University of Findlay
2B: Chase Suddeth, New Market, North Georgia College
SS: Cash Gladfelter, Woodstock, Shippensburg University
SS: Simon Landry, Strasburg, Pearl River Community College
3B: Nick Barber, New Market, East Carolina University
3B: Alejandro Rivero, Winchester , Broward College
OF: Dominic Canzone, Front Royal, Ohio State University
OF: Danton Hyman, Woodstock, Newberry College
OF: Luc Lipcius, Front Royal, University of Tennessee
OF: Brandon Quaranta, Strasburg, Philadelphia University
OF: Sheldon Reed, Purcellville, Clemson University
OF: Cody Wilson, Winchester, Florida Atlantic University

Head Coach: Brett Fuller

SOUTH ROSTER
RHP Jordan Cox, Staunton, University of Dayton
RHP: Chris Farish, Harrisonburg, Wake Forest University
RHP: Davis Kirkpatrick, Harrisonburg, East Carolina University
RHP: Sean McCracken, Charlottesville, Johns Hopkins University
RHP: Deacon Medders, Staunton, University of Alabama
LHP: Nate Schweers, Covington, Oakland University
RHP: Rick Spiers, Charlottesville, Randolph-Macon College
RHP Mason Studstill, Harrisonburg, Eastern Florida State College
RHP: Daniel Tolano, Waynesboro, Tennessee Wesleyan College
C: Tony Beam, Harrisonburg, Texas-San Antonio
C: Brandon Johnson, Charlottesville, University of Richmond
1B: Luke Robinson, Waynesboro, Western Carolina University
1B: Vinnie Pasquantino, Charlottesville, Old Dominion University
2B: Payton Robertson, Staunton, Lamar University
2B: Mike Wielansky, Charlottesville, College of Wooster
SS: Joseph Bellini, Waynesboro, University of Kentucky
SS: Antwaun Tucker, Staunton, Longwood University
3B: Bruce Strickland, Covington, Felician College
3B: Brendan Venter, Harrisonburg, Auburn University
OF: Ty Andrus, Harrisonburg, Wingate University
OF: Kyle Battle, Charlottesville, Old Dominion University
OF: McClain Bradley, Waynesboro, Wofford College
OF: Jay Charleston, Staunton, University of Tennessee
OF: Zach Evers, Waynesboro, Elon University
OF: Caleb Walls, Covington, George Mason University

Head Coach: Corey Hunt

Power Rankings #1

It is time once again, dear reader, to take a look at ATVL’s “Power Rankings!”

This is a dubious exercise, to be sure. Don’t wins and losses already rank the teams? Yes and no. While wins and losses are ultimately what will decide which team wins the championship this summer, it can also be fun to try to rank the teams by looking at some team stats, like ERA, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

So, we’ll just admit right up front that this is ridiculous, even if real journalists compile this list for the highest level in the land.

Our first attempt at power rankings just about halfway through the season follows. The lines are teams, record, ERA, batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage, and then something to keep in mind.

  1. Charlottesville: 12-5, 3.34, 284/383/388, 1st in ERA, BA, and slugging, and 2nd in OBP. TomSox logoMichael Wielansky and Vinnie Pasquantino anchor the Ton Sox’s lineup. The Sox are pretty clearly the team to beat right now, and they’ve played 5 more games on the road than at home, too.
  2. Waynesboro: 11-7, 3.42, 283/385/378, 2nd behind the Sox in all the same categories, except leading in OBP. McClain Bradley leads the league in batting average.
  3. Purcellville: 12-7, 3.95, 262/356/377, Thomas Sutera and Dalton Whitaker lead a stellar bullpen.
  4. Front Royal: 10-9, 4.13, 277/374/361, Luc Lipcius and Dominic Canzone are freshmen from power conferences… and are hitting like it.
  5. New Market: 11-9, 3.85, 259/352/370, the Rebs have committed 51 errors leading to 41 unearned runs.
  6. Strasburg: 10-9, 3.95, 256/371/344, Zach Peek and Brendan Smith lead the staff.
  7. Staunton: 8-11, 4.31, 264/352/339, Deacon Medders and Jordan Cox are a solid 1-2 punch in the rotation.
  8. Harrisonburg: 9-11, 4.18, 249/325/327, the Turks are a sleeping giant. They have most of their players now, so watch for rapid improvement.
  9. Winchester: 8-12, 4.98, 261/352/340, Cody Wilson leads the hitting attack.
  10. Woodstock: 9-11, 4.76, 240/341/294, Cash Gladfelter hitting .414… but a whole team slugging under .300?
  11. Covington: 5-14, 6.26, 243/332/326, 161 runs allowed in 164 innings won’t win too many games. But Bruce Strickland is back!