09/01/2005 – Daily News Record
A.M. CHATTER Daily Dose Written by Aaron Gray He led the Eastern Mennonite High School varsity baseball team in hitting as an eigth-grader and, at the tender age of 16, was starting for the Elkton Blue Sox in the Rockingham County Baseball League. This week, John Gira continued his precocious ways by signing a contract to play next summer for the Harrisonburg Turks in the NCAA-sanctioned Valley Baseball League – and he did so one day before leaving for college. Gira will be a freshman outfielder at Randolph-Macon this spring. Division III players are uncommon in the VBL, a wooden-bat circuit that includes major college stars from across the nation. But Turks owner/manager Bob Wease, who has long known Gira, approached Gira’s parents at the RCBL championship series between Elkton and Clover Hill last month to see if their son wanted to play in the Valley. "When I was 14, he always told me I could play for the Turks one day when I go to college," Gira said. "He was at every game during the championship series, so I guess he had his eye on me." Gira paced Elkton in the RCBL finals, going 12-for-21, with seven doubles and 10 RBIs. Even though the Blue Sox fell to Clover Hill, 4 games to 1, Gira was named a co-MVP. As for the prospects of a D-III player prospering in the VBL, Gira is just happy to get a chance to prove himself. "I asked him (Wease) about that," Gira said. "I know he’ll give me a chance. It’s just like any team, if I play well, I’ll be in the lineup. But at the same time, I also get a chance to work with Division I athletes." And, if his past is any indication, make an early splash.