Spitz Has Great Night

Thomas SpitzMaybe it’s something in the water?

Another former Harrisonburg Turk had an amazing night in the minor leagues- this time it’s Thomas Spitz (Harrisonburg 2013-14), who had a career night on May 15th, the same day I was writing about AJ Murray’s 5-5 night.

Spitz, a 32nd round pick of the Cardinals in the 2015 draft, went 4-5 for Peoria (Midwest League), along with a home run, 2 RBIs, and 3 runs. His batting average jumped 31 points after just this one game, leaving him at 264/337/330 after 91 at-bats, with 3 doubles, 1 home run, 2 stolen bases, and a 10/19 BB/K ratio.

Congrats on the great night!



Five Named Semi-Finalists for D2 Player of the Year

The semifinalists of the Tino Martinez Award, given to the top player in all of Division 2, have been released, and FIVE former Valley Leaguers have made the initial list!

By the way, did you know that a former Valley Leaguer won the award recently? Nathan Minnich (Winchester 2010, 2011) was named the top D-2 player in all the land in 2012. Nathan went on to be drafted in the 8th round in 2012 by the Red Sox, and played two seasons in the minors.

Here are the current five with 2016 stats:

  • Robert Bennie (Waynesboro 2014), from East Stroudsburg (Robert transferred from UVA): 413/477/670, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 10 home runs, 63 runs, 53 RBIs, 21/39 BB/K, 19 stolen bases
  • Shane Billings (Harrisonburg 2015- and league MVP), from Wingate: 444/502/639, 16 doubles, 7 triples, 4 home runs, 74 runs (!), 25/15 BB/K, 30 stolen bases
  • Nathaniel Maggio (Winchester 2015), from North Greenville (transfer from Tennessee): 324/417/714, 20 doubles, 17 home runs, 49 runs, 49 RBIs, 28/46 BB/K
  • Mike McClellan (Waynesboro 2014), from Columbus State: 422/502/743, 12 doubles, 18 home runs, 59 runs, 70 RBIs (!), 25/49 BB/K
  • Tre Porter (Strasburg 2013, Front Royal 2015), from Shepherd (and Potomac State): 380/498/789, 7 doubles, 5 triples, 17 home runs, 63 runs, 42 RBIs, 37/37 BB/K, 21 stolen bases

Hopefully one of the five will be chosen! The winner will be announced on June 6th.

Five Off to Scorching Starts

Five of the players that ATVL listed as top hitters in the 2015 Valley League season are off to scorching hot starts in their respective college season. Let’s take a look:

  • Shane Billings (Harrisonburg), Wingate: The MVP of the 2015 season is crushing the ball so far for Wingate. He’s hitting 453/520/686 in 86 at-bats, along with 31 runs scored, 16 RBIs, 9 doubles, 4 triples, a home run, a 12/4 BB/K ratio, and a perfect 12 steals in 12 attempts.
  • Bradley Jones (Charles Town), Charleston: He may be hitting “only” .262, but his on-base percentage is .407 and he’s slugging a ridiculous .786, thanks to 4 doubles and a whopping 6 home runs in only 42 at-bats.
  • Andrew Seigel (Aldie), Concord: Andrew is hitting 452/511/548 in 42 at-bats. He’s scored 12 runs, and hit 2 doubles and a triple. His BB/K ratio is 5/5, and he’s stolen 5 bases in 7 attempts.
  • Austin Edens (Staunton), Samford: Austin is hitting .373 in 51 at-bats, along with 12 runs, 14 RBIs, 5 doubles, and 5 home runs. He has a 2/10 BB/K ratio.
  • Jared Baker (Harrisonburg), Oklahoma City: In 21 games and 70 at-bats, Jared is hitting 457/512/886. (Slugging .886?!?!) He has scored 27 runs, driven in 19, and has 10 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 home runs. His BB/K ratio is 7/8.

Great job, guys! Keep on raking….

#5 Reliever: Hunter Morgan, Woodstock

Hunter Morgan Wingate 2016Wingate’s players had quite a season in the Valley in 2015, as here we have yet another Bulldog show up on a top player list. This time, it’s Woodstock’s Hunter Morgan, who is the 5th best reliever in the 2015 Valley League season!

Hunter pitched in 13 games for the River Bandits, finishing 2-0, 1.50, with 2 saves, a 0.958 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, and 5.3 K/9 in 24 innings. He also won the “seeding” game in relief on July 27th. He had a crazy outing on July 24th against Charles Town, when he threw 6 1/3 shutout innings in relief while allowing only 1 hit, 0 walks, and striking out 3.

Morgan is currently a sophomore at Wingate. In 2015 as a freshman, he went 1-0, 8.71 in 7 games (1 start) and only 10 1/3 innings pitched. So far in 2016, through March 5th, Hunter is 0-1, 4.05 in 13 1/3 innings.

Congrats on your excellent summer, Hunter!

#9 Reliever: Tyler Brown, Harrisonburg

Tyler Brown Wingate 2016The 9th best reliever in the 2015 Valley League season, Harrisonburg’s Tyler Brown, is the only player on the reliever list to make the list two years in a row!

Listed at #6 in 2014, Wingate’s 5-foot-10 senior comes in at #9 in 2015 after finishing 2-1, 2.50 with 4 saves in 10 games. He had a WHIP of 1.000, a BB/9 of 1.0, and a K/9 of 7.5. He walked only 2 and struck out 15 in 18 innings of work in the regular season. He added 3 shutout innings in the playoffs for the Turks.

Tyler has been a very important arm for the Bulldogs over his college career. In 2013, as a freshman, Brown logged 16 1/3 innings , going 0-2, 7.71.

As a sophomore in 2014, Tyler improved to 2-2, 2.76 in 29 1/3 innings, while walking 13, striking out 29, and allowing 22 hits. He also logged 3 saves.

In 2015, though, he was crucial to the team’s success. He went 8-4, 3.23, with 3 saves, in 69 2/3 innings pitched. He walked only 16, and struck out 48. He led his team in wins and earned run average.

Through February 27th this season, Tyler is 1-0, 1.93 over 7 appearances and 9 1/3 innings pitched. He has 13 strikeouts and only 2 walks.

Nice job, Tyler!

Tyler Brown Wingate


#1 Hitter: Shane Billings, Harrisonburg

Before we get to our best 2015 hitter, let’s take a look at the winners since 2007:

2014: Gunnar McNeill, Staunton
2013: Jordan Tarsovich, Strasburg
2012: Jimmy Yezzo, Winchester
2011: Brad Zebedis, Strasburg
2010: Cory Spangenberg, Winchester
2009: Stephen McQuail, Front Royal
2008: Tyler Townsend, Winchester
2007: Jason Kipnis, Covington

Pretty high-powered list!

Well, the name that shall be added to this list is Harrisonburg’s Shane Billings, the outfielder who attends Division-II Wingate.

Billings_Shane_01Shane was actually a pretty easy selection, as he hit 418/483/549 in 153 at-bats during the summer, along with 45 runs (in only 39 games!), 64 hits, 6 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, 15 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, and a super 19/13 BB/K ratio. He led the league in runs, hits, batting average, on-base percentage, and tied for 1st in triples. He was 2nd in stolen bases and slugging percentage, and 3rd in walks. He was named the league’s MVP, and he was the only Valley Leaguer to be named to PG Crosschecker’s list of summer All-Americans– as a third-team selection.¬†Billings also went 1-3 in the “seeding game,” and then went 4-14 in the playoffs for the Turks, with a double, triple, and 5 RBIs. What a season! (By the way, his total number of triples tied for the most in the league since 2004, and his batting average is the 5th best, also since 2004.) Oh- Shane is signed up to come back to Harrisonburg for the 2016 season, too.

Honestly, though, it would have been possible to see that Shane was going to have a great summer just by his college stats so far.

In 2014, as a freshman for the Bulldogs, Shane hit 328/371/451 in 195 at-bats, with 45 runs, 64 hits, 27 RBIs, 7 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs, 6 stolen bases, and a 9/26 BB/K ratio. He led his team in runs, finished second in batting average, hits, and triples, and finished third in slugging percentage.

Pretty awesome freshman year, but Shane still took a huge step forward in his sophomore year in 2015. Try this on for size: he hit 408/455/604 in 255 at-bats, with 79 runs, 104 hits, 43 RBIs, 16 doubles, 2 triples, 10 home runs, 26 stolen bases, and an 18/34 BB/K ratio. He led the Bulldogs in batting average, hits, and stolen bases. He finished 2nd in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and runs.

After the season, to no one’s surprise, the accolades started pouring in. Shane was named the following:

  • 1st team North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association All-State
  • All-SAC (South Atlantic Conference) 1st Team
  • 1st team All-Region from NCBWA, ABCA, and Daktronics
  • 1st team All-American from Daktronics and NCWBA
  • 2nd team All-American ABCA

Now, let’s see if Shane can duplicate his success this spring!

(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record)

(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record)



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Valley League Summary, Tuesday June 30

Well, the rain did pass through last night, and it cancelled one game, and ended four others early. Still some things to write about, though!


Strasburg 8, Charles Town 2 (5 innings)
Aldie 4, Front Royal 1
Harrisonburg 10, Covington 7 (5 innings)
Charlottesville 1, New Market 0 (7 innings)
Staunton 4, Waynesboro 2 (8 innings)
Woodstock-Winchester postponed

Hitter of the Day

Shane Billings

Shane Billings

The hitter of the day is Harrisonburg’s Shane Billings, from Wingate! Shane went 4-4, with 2 runs scored, 3 RBIs, a home run, and 2 stolen bases. Shane is having an excellent summer so far, hitting 411/450/562 in 73 at-bats, along with 13 stolen bases!

Others of Note

Brennon Kaleiwahea, Strasburg: 3-3, 2 runs, RBI, 2B
Seth Lancaster, Charlottesville: 3-3, 2 2B

Pitcher of the Day

In a repeat performance, the POD is Charlottesville’s Hayden McCutcheon, from Charleston! Hayden earned a game score of 72 after his 5 shutout innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, and 10 strikeouts. Hayden seems to be well on his way to a spot on the top starters list: he’s 1-1, 2.70, with 28 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched.

Others of Note

Brock Hunter, Strasburg: 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 BB, 3 K’s, win (54)

Hayden McCutcheon

Hayden McCutcheon

Joe Williams, Aldie: 7 IP, 5 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB, 0 K’s, win (66)
Luke Burnidge, Front Royal: 5 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 3 BB, 6 K’s, game score of 64. Look, Luke officially received the loss in this game, but I can’t see how. He didn’t allow a run in his outing, which makes it impossible to lose anyway, but Aldie didn’t score until the 8th inning, long after Luke had exited the game. I would be asking about that decision if I were him.
William Montgomerie, Waynesboro: 7 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned, 2 BB, 10 K’s, loss (71)
Nick Margevicius, Staunton: 7.1 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned, 2 BB, 5 K’s, win (69)

Tonight’s Schedule

Woodstock (David Marriggi) at Strasburg (Colby Nealy)
Staunton (TBD) at Charlottesville (Michael Scott)
Front Royal (Aaron Howell) at Winchester (Brandon Guske)
Covington (Nolan Krivijanski) at Waynesboro (TBD)
Charles Town (Evan Richardson) at Aldie (Jordan Gard)
New Market (JD Waite) at Harrisonburg (Jordan Meyer)