07/08/2010 – Daily News Record
By Mike Barber Daily News Record
HARRISONBURG – Last summer as a Harrisonburg Turk, Shaun Cooper struggled to adjust to swinging a wooden bat, hitting just two home runs in 131 at-bats. This year, Cooper’s had no such problems.
With his Valley League-leading eight home runs, Cooper was one of six Turks selected for this Sunday’s All-Star Game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Eagle Field, Harrisonburg’s home park.
Joining Cooper on the South roster will be infielder Connor Winn, first baseman Patrick Savage, catcher Scott Dalrymple, and pitchers Drew Granier and Stephen Kolscheen.
The league released the all-star rosters Wednesday.
The South is made up of players from Harrisonburg, Covington, New Market, Rockbridge, Staunton, and Waynesboro. The North roster comes from Front Royal, Haymarket, Luray, Winchester and Woodstock.
The Turks (14-10) – along with Luray (15-10), Haymarket (15-10) and Front Royal (15-10) – each placed six players on the all-star team. Covington (11-14), Staunton (12-12), New Market (9-15), Waynesboro (12-12) and Woodstock (10-15) each placed four players in the game.
Winchester (14-11) and Rockbridge (8-16) have three each.
New Market’s all-stars are outfielder Jordan Owen, outfielder/pitcher Cameron Ward and pitchers William Falasco, Jacob Guengerich
Each team in the Valley League gets to name one pitcher and one position player to the all-star team. Then, each club nominates four more players. The two all-star managers – this year Wease and Haymarket’s Ryan Fecteau – and the league’s board of directors, pick the rest of the 25-man roster.
Cooper, a 5-foot-11, 192-pound slugger from Pima Community College in Arizona will also take part in the home run derby at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Though he’s been in home run contests before, Cooper sounded less than confident about this weekend’s event.
“I can’t exactly hit home runs on command,” Cooper said Wednesday by phone from the team bus to Front Royal.
For the summer, Cooper is hitting .241 with the eight home runs and 21 RBIs, second best in the Valley.
“That .241 is absolutely deceiving,” Wease said. “His strength is as a power hitter. He hit a ball over at [Eagle Field] and it’s still going.”
Like Cooper, Granier played for Harrisonburg last summer, going 5-1 with a 2.34 ERA. Unlike Cooper, Granier – a right-hander from Louisiana-Monroe – earned a spot on the 2009 all-star team. He didn’t go to the game, however, after pitching the day before.
This time around, he plans to be there and said Wease has talked about letting him close out the contest in the ninth inning.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Granier said. “It should be fun.”
Granier is 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA in five starts for Harrisonburg. He’s thrown two complete games, struck out 36 and walked just eight in his 35 1/3 innings of work.
Savage (Auburn) leads the Turks with a .338 average, 13 runs scored and 14 RBIs. As productive as he’s been at the plate, Wease said, Savage has been even better in the field. Playing both first and third, Savage has yet to commit an error in 155 chances.
Winn, a shortstop from Georgia Tech, is hitting .328 with 11 runs scored.
“He’s been the sparkplug of our whole team,” Wease said. “He’s been great in the field, absolutely wonderful. He’s done a great job for us.”
Dalrymple (Oklahoma City) is hitting .235 with 11 RBIs and eight runs, though Wease said his defense is what has made him so valuable to the Turks.
“He’s a very, very good catcher,” Wease said of Dalrymple, who has thrown out four of 10 would-be base stealers this summer. “He’s probably got one of the best arms in the league.”
Kolscheen, a right-hander from Auburn, made the all-star team despite just recently joining the Turks about two weeks ago. He is 2-0 and has yet to let up a run in 10 innings of work.