7/09/2007 – Daily News Record
Pitching Dominates Valley League All-Star Game Byrd Newspapers Front Royal – Pitchers were the stars during the 2007 Valley Baseball league’s All Star Game played at Bing Crosby Stadium. the North (Winchester, Haymarket, Fauquier, Luray, Woodstock and host Front Royal) won the low-scoring affair over the South (Harrisonburg, New Market, Staunton, Waynesboro and Covington) and gave the large contingent of Major League Baseball scouts in attendance plenty to aim their radar guns at. The game featured 23 different pitchers, who allowed just seven combined hits. "I’ve been in the league 17 years and this is the best group of pitchers I’ve seen in years," Luray Wranglers and North manager Mike Bocock said. "Five or six different guys were throwing over 90 (mph)." Bocock weaved in 13 different pitchers against the South, starting with Luray’s Dustin Umberger (Liberty) and ending with Front Royal’s Joel Brookens (NC State), who threw just one pitch to earn the save. Three Harrisonburg Turks started the game for the South. Designated hitter Robert Taylor went 1-for3 with a single in the fourth inning. First baseman David Dennis went 0-for- with a pair of strikeouts. Second baseman B.J. Wheeler went 0-for-2. Ashur Tolliver pitched 2/3 of an inning in relief, striking out one and allowing one hit. Garrett Parker pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the South. The South’s only serious threat cam in the top of the third inning against Luray’s Robert Gilliam (UNC-Greensboro). With one out Staunton’s Zach Barrett, the South’s MVP, lined a double down the third base line but was left stranded after Gilliam struck out Covington’s Jason Kipnis (Kentucky) – the home run derby winner – and Staunton’s Chris Wilkins (Shepherd) to end the inning. In all, the North’s hurlers struck out 13 batters, and retired the last 13 in a row to end the game. Front Royal’s Bennett Davis (Manatee C.C.) scored the only run the North would need in the bottom of the third, and that was enough to earn him the team’s MVP award. davis lined a 1-1 fastball to the gap in left center to start the third inning with a standup double. After Haymarket’s Spencer Wiggins (George Mason) – the winner of the pre-game 60-yard dash – was hit by a pitch, the North loaded the bases off Covington lefty Tommy Warner (Kentucky). Luray’s Tyler Kuhm (West Virginia) dropped down a perfect bunt single between third base and the pitcher’s mound to reach. Woodstock’s Shand Moody (Charleston) then delivered a sacrifice fly to shallow center to score Davis from third. "First of all, you have to give our pitching staff all of the credit," Davis said. "It’s a treast to get the MVP aware here in front of the home crowd." The North added an insurance run in the fifth as Fauquier’s Jeffrey Hartwig (Urbana) scored from third on an RBI ground out by Moody. Fauquier’s Zac Blakney (Montevallo) started the ninth for the North with two quick strikeouts. Then Brookens cam on to throw one pitch to retire Waynesboro’s Kurt Davidson (Akron) to end the game. "The pitching was great and a sign that the league is getting better," Bocock said. "There are a lot of good arms at home that could have made the team." Gilliam picked up the win for the North and Covington’s Robbie Andrews (Virginia Commonwealth) took the loss.