2008 VBL Playoff Preview

07/29/2008 – www.allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com

Written By John Leonard All Things Valley League Playoff Preview: #8 Haymarket vs. #1 Waynesboro #8 Seed: Haymarket Overall Record: 18-26 .409 Record Last 10 Games: 4-6 Record Last 5 Games: 3-2 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 253/327/347 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 4.79, 4.3, 7.3 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 208 RS, 270 RA Hitters to Watch: David Herbek 301/383/427; Wayne Miller 296/363/389; Tripp Swann 257/392/441 Pitchers to Watch: Dean Wolosiansky 3-3, 2.77; Ben Hildreth 5-3, 3.52; Timothy Knowlton 3-4, 4.00; Chris Greiner 2-3, 4.47 #1 Seed: Waynesboro Overall Record: 30-14 .682 Record Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record Last 5 Games: 3-2 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 269/364/387 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 3.20, 3.3, 8.4 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 260 RS, 181 RA Hitters to Watch: Brandon Sizemore 394/488/779; Gabriel Saade 333/449/469; Mark Dvoroznak 298/408/323; Evan Webb 299/379/469; Austin Morgan 305/363/402; Derek Hamblen 315/342/398 Pitchers to Watch: Adam Liberatore 6-0, 1.15; Jared Dobbs 4-1, 1.06; Andy Altemus 7-1, 3.41; Jake Cowan 4-2, 2.92; Kaleb Fleck 0-2, 2.18, 2 saves Overview: This is a tough task for the Senators. The Generals can run three (four? five?) starters out to the mound who are capable of throwing shutouts, with a solid bullpen, while Haymarket’s staff has the 10th-best team ERA in the league. The Generals get on base at the best rate in the league, and they hit for power, too. The Generals also swept the season series, 4-0. While anything can happen in a short series, odds and statistics are firmly in the Generals’ favor. Playoff Preview: #7 Harrisonburg vs. #2 Luray #7 Seed: Harrisonburg Overall Record: 19-25 .432 Record Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record Last 5 Games: 3-2 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 237/312/342 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 3.80, 3.5, 8.4 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 167 RS, 211 RA Hitters to Watch: Drew Johnson 364/413/558; Michael Precise 275/326/444 Pitchers to Watch: Garrett Parker 3-4, 2.93; Eric Thomas 3-2, 3.20; James Kennedy 4-4, 3.95; Chase Sonen 1-2, 2.21, 4 saves; Justin Wood 2-1, 2.01, 3 saves; Greg Bartleski 1-2, 2.90 #2 Seed: Luray Overall Record: 30-14 .682 Record Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record Last 5 Games: 2-3 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 270/356/420 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 2.99, 3.9, 10.1 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 272 RS, 178 RA Hitters to Watch: Jeff Jefferson 321/385/519; Ryan Schmipf 379/446/667; CJ Lauriello 325/389/429; Jeremy Cruz 312/360/538; Justin Miller 321/377/429; Adam McClain 275/362/456; Chris Rey 263/358/394; Austin Markel 260/350/496 Pitchers to Watch: Travis Smink 5-0, 1.70; Drew Rucinski 3-1, 0.85; Kyle Cichy 3-1, 1.96, 3 saves; Alex Wimmers 4-1, 2.11, 3 saves Overview: On paper, this one looks like a mismatch. Luray has been at the top of the league all year long, they have a powerful lineup and excellent pitching. The Turks have struggled to score runs, but their pitching has been strong, especially out of the bullpen. To add to matters, Luray swept the regular season, 4-0. However, these teams have a longstanding rivalry, so it should be an exciting series! Playoff Preview: #6 Covington vs. #3 Fauquier #6 Seed: Covington Overall Record: 23-21 .523 Record Last 10 Games: 3-7 Record Last 5 Games: 2-3 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 268/362/387 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 4.97, 4.2, 7.9 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 241 RS, 255 RA Hitters to Watch: Rico Noel 345/402/482; Derrick Washington 313/393/444; Marcus Nidiffer 315/441/648; Ty Rivers 329/422/386; JJ Muse 289/370/458 Pitchers to Watch: Chris Court 4-2, 3.99; Mike Pierce 4-2, 4.76; Brian Santana 1-2, 3.03, 1 save; Robbie Andrews 3-0, 4.39, 4 saves; Noah Garza 1-1, 2.92 #3 Seed: Fauquier Overall Record: 27-17 .614 Record Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record Last 5 Games: 3-2 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 243/342/319 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 2.86, 3.7, 8.2 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 211 RS, 168 RA Hitters to Watch: Ryan Gauck 326/420/459; Justin Wilson 275/371/341; Greg DeSantis 261/394/333 Pitchers to Watch: Eric Alessio 3-3, 2.57; Jack VanLeur 2-2, 1.93, 1 save; Rob Whitley 4-0, 2.74; Jon Jacobs 4-1, 1.10, 2 saves; Shawn Griffith 2-0, 1.77, 13 saves; Ben Blanton 4-0, 2.33 Overview: This is a fascinating series. Covington is a hitter-heavy squad. They need to get decent pitching and continue to hit to win. Fauquier, on the other hand, is a pitching-heavy team. They need to pitch like normal and scratch out enough runs to win. Another issue is Covington’s team speed. The ‘Jacks have stolen a crazy 134 bases this year- far and away the most in the league. Fauquier’s catchers and pitchers will need to do a good job holding runners on. When the playoffs roll around in the major leagues, good pitching seems to ultimately do well against good hitting. Will that happen here? By the way, making this an even tougher call, Covington won the season series, 3-1. Playoff Preview: #5 Staunton vs. #4 Winchester #5 Seed: Staunton Overall Record: 24-20 .545 Record Last 10 Games: 5-5 Record Last 5 Games: 2-3 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 274/353/385 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 4.41, 4.0, 9.2 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 229 RS, 230 RA Hitters to Watch: Max Most 340/429/442; Bryon Izzo 331/380/386; Josh Wenderoth 301/350/421; Casey Sedley 404/468/654; Blake McDade 285/392/500 Pitchers to Watch: Lance Baxter 6-0, 1.26; Gerard Sokolis 4-4, 3.17; Adam Hoyt 3-1, 2.84; Donald Howell 3-2, 1.95, 2 saves; Josh Squatrito 1-3, 1.50, 7 saves #4 Seed: Winchester Overall Record: 27-17 .614 Record Last 10 Games: 8-2 Record Last 5 Games: 5-0 Team AVG/OBP/SLG: 271/353/399 Team ERA, BB/9, K/9: 3.20, 3.2, 9.9 Runs Scored, Runs Allowed: 229 RS, 181 RA Hitters to Watch: Tyler Townsend 405/512/763; Micky Wiswall 352/420/594; Joe Agreste 333/392/579; Aaron Dudley 286/324/457; Kyle Galbraith 280/356/322; Chris Berset 304/385/357 Pitchers to Watch: Taylor Hill 5-1, 2.23; John Leonard 3-4, 2.68; Justin Collop 5-2, 3.22; Billy Morrison 3-1, 1.36; Tyler Thornburg 1-0, 1.66, 10 saves; Michael Dufek 0-1, 2.20; Devin Campbell 2-1, 1.91 Overview: (All of these overviews come with a caveat- in a 3-game series, absolutely anything can happen!) By seeds, this is to be the closest of all the series (and the teams tied during the season, 2-2). Winchester, however, comes in as the "hottest" VBL team, as they are currently on a 7-game winning streak. Not many teams can match the middle of the Royals’ lineup, as Townsend, Wiswall, and Agreste are pounding the ball right now. Winchester’s pitchers are also solid, making the Royals a balanced team. Staunton, on the other hand, runs out one of the best pitchers in the league in Baxter, and they have a tremendous 1-2 punch at the back end of the bullpen with Howell and Squatrito. However, their overall team ERA ranks in the bottom half of the league, and is more than a full run more than the Royals. Additionally, Winchester and Staunton are two of the best fielding teams in the league- the Royals committed the least errors, and Staunton came in with the 3rd least. On paper, Winchester looks like the favorite, with a better run differential and better overall pitching numbers, but the hitting looks very close. It looks like Staunton’s pitchers will need to keep the "triumvirate" under control, but this should be a close, hard-fought series! And, again, in a 3-game series, anything can happen!


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