Turks Drew Johnson and Michael Precise Named to VBL 1st team ALL VALLEY TEAM

08/08/2008 – Valley League Baseball Newsroom

TOWNSEND, NESSELRODT HIGHLIGHT 2008 VALLEY LEAGUE AWARDS Tyler Townsend led the league in batting and on-base percentage and finished second in slugging, becoming the second straight MVP from Winchester. Winchester designated hitter Tyler Townsend (Lewes, Delhttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Florida International) was honored as the Most Valuable Player and Waynesboro skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt was selected as Coach of the Year as the Valley Baseball League announced its 2008 All-League awards on Friday, August 8. The top honors had a similar look to a year ago when Winchester also had the top honoree in slugger Luke Greinke and Nesselrodt was the top coach. Townsend also earned the VBL Batting Champion honor as the regular season batting average leader. Waynesboro ace Adam Liberatore (Monaca, Pahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Tennessee Tech) was the regular season ERA Leader. Luray second baseman Ryan Schimpf claimed the first ever VBL Championship Series MVP award handed out earlier in the week. A rising junior at FIU, Townsend led the VBL with a .387 batting average and .500 on-base percentage and finished second with a .739 slugging percentage. He was also first in runs (40), third in RBIs (36), second in home runs (12), first in total bases (105), and third in walks (29). In addition to DH, Townsend also played 15 games at first base and three in the outfield. Nesselrodt was named the league’s top coach for the third consecutive season. He led Waynesboro to a 30-14 mark in the regular season, claiming the South Division pennant and earning the top overall seed on the final day of the regular season. The Generals hold the best regular season record for the last three seasons combined with a mark of 87-42-1. Liberatore led the league in ERA for most of the season, including the end of the regular season. He finished third overall in the final statistical rankings after the playoffs with a 1.36 ERA. He finished first in opponent batting average (.170), second in innings (66 1/3), and second in wins (6). In addition to Liberatore, two other Generals were named to the 15-man All-League First Team. Second baseman Brandon Sizemore (Bryceville, Flahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Charleston) was the only repeat selection from the 2007 All-League honors. He finished second in average (.377), first in slugging (.746), second in on-base percentage (.469), fifth in RBIs (34), third in doubles (13), fourth in homers (10), and fourth in total bases (91). He was joined by short stop Gabriel Saade (Miami, Flahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Duke), who hit .327 with a team-best 17 steals. Staunton and Winchester also placed three players each on the first team. In addition to Townsend, the Royals were represented by third baseman Mickey Wiswall (Stoneham, Masshttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Boston College) and relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg (Atlanta, Gahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Charleston Southern). Wiswall hit .336 and was fifth in the league in slugging (.557) and fifth in RBIs (34). Thornburg was second in the league with 10 saves while going 1-1 with a 1.48 ERA in 24 1/3 innings. For Staunton, ace pitcher Lance Baxter (Silverhill, Alahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/South Alabama) was joined by first baseman Blake McDade (Ooltewah, Tennhttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Middle Tennessee State)) and outfielder Max Most (Port Washington, N.Yhttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Old Dominion). After firing a no hitter in the first week of the season, Baxter finished second in the league in ERA (1.26) and wins (6). He struck out 53 in 50 innings with just 14 walks. McDade was second in the VBL with 42 RBIs, second in total bases (94), and second in triples (3). He hit .301 while Most led the Braves with a .339 average to rank fifth in the league. He added 24 RBIs, 13 doubles, and 27 walks. Representing league champion Luray were outfielder Jeff Jefferson (Dry Fork, Vahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Liberty) and starting pitcher Travis Smink (Delmatia, Pahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/VMI). Jefferson led the league with 59 hits, placed second with 38 runs, and shared second in total bases with 94. Smink was fifth with a 1.88 ERA and second with six wins while striking out 49 in 62 1/3 innings. Harrisonburg also placed two players on the All-League First Team with outfielder Drew Johnson (Reno, Nevhttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/San Francisco) and utility player Michael Precise (Geneva, Alahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Troy). Johnson was third in the league in average (.364), fourth in slugging (.558), and fourth in hits (56). Precise hit .266 with nine doubles, seven homers, and a team-best 33 RBIs. The remaining spots on the first team were occupied by Covington catcher Marcus Nidiffer (Bristol, Tennhttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/Kentucky) and Fauquier closer Shawn Griffith (St. Petersburg, Flahttp://www.HarrisonburgTurks.com/NewsManager/George Mason). Nidiffer hit .305 and placed third in the league in both slugging (.649) and on-base (.440). He led the league in home runs with 13 and also finished third with 35 runs scored. Griffith went 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA while leading the league with 13 saves. He struck out 27 in 20 1/3 innings and limited the opposition to a .160 average. In addition to the first team honors, a 16-person second team was also selected for the first time in league history. The VBL awards were voted upon by the league’s 11 head coaches, broadcasters, and select media members who covered the league. 2008 Valley League MVP – Tyler Townsend, Winchester (Florida International) 2008 Valley League Coach of the Year – Lawrence Nesselrodt, Waynesboro 2008 Valley League Batting Champion – Tyler Townsend, Winchester (Florida International) 2008 Valley League Pitching ERA Leader – Adam Liberatore, Waynesboro (Tennessee Tech) 2008 Valley League Championship Series MVP – Ryan Schimpf, Luray (LSU) 2008 Valley League First Team All-League 1B – Blake McDade, Staunton (Middle Tennessee State) 2B – Brandon Sizemore, Waynesboro (Charleston) 3B – Mickey Wiswall, Winchester (Boston College) SS – Gabriel Saade, Waynesboro (Duke) OF – Jeff Jefferson, Luray (Liberty) OF – Drew Johnson, Harrisonburg (San Francisco) OF – Max Most, Staunton (Old Dominion) C – Marcus Nidiffer, Covington (Kentucky) DH – Tyler Townsend, Winchester (Florida International) UT – Michael Precise, Harrisonburg (Troy) SP – Lance Baxter, Staunton (South Alabama) SP – Adam Liberatore, Waynesboro (Tennessee Tech) SP – Travis Smink, Luray (VMI) RP – Shawn Griffith, Fauquier (George Mason) RP – Tyler Thornburg, Winchester (Charleston Southern) 2008 Valley League Second Team All-League 1B – Mike Marshall, Woodstock (Stanford) 2B – Rico Noel, Covington (Coastal Carolina) 3B – Evan Webb, Waynesboro (Tennessee Tech) SS – Adam McClain, Luray (Memphis) OF – Joe Agreste, Winchester (West Virginia) OF – Kevin Dietrich, New Market (UNC Pembroke) OF – Ryan Gauck, Fauquier (Marist) C – Bryan Izzo, Staunton (Lincoln Memorial) DH – Jeremy Cruz, Luray (Stetson) UT – Jesse Henry, Front Royal (Shenandoah) SP – Andy Altemus, Waynesboro (Potomac State) SP – Taylor Hill, Winchester (Vanderbilt) SP – Tucker Prior, Front Royal (North Florida) SP – Drew Rucinski, Luray (Ohio State) RP – Daniel Gentzler, New Market (Maryland) RP – Jon Luke Jacobs, Fauquier (Auburn) *NOTE: Due to a tie, four starting pitchers were included on the second team.


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