Pitchers Headline VBL

A Look At The Top All-Stars

Daily News Record

HARRISONBURG — Pitching, pitching and more pitching.With two nights of games remaining before Sunday’s Valley League All-Star Game at Veterans Memorial Park, 11 pitchers with four or more starts have ERAs below 2.00.

So, it’s no surprise several managers and players listed pitchers when asked about this year’s top All-Stars.

“Compared to last year, the pitching has been better,” Aldie manager Erik Lemley said. “There are no easy games.”

Using statistics, the eye-test and anecdotes from those in the VBL, here’s a handful of stars — including three pitchers — to watch.

Justin Camp, starting pitcher, Harrisonburg:

The Turks’ clear No. 1 starter, Camp has been stellar this summer. Although he doesn’t lead any of the major statistical categories, the right-hander from Auburn ranks second in wins (five), fourth in strikeouts (35) and sixth in ERA (1.18).

“Of course I’ve seen him every time he’s pitched, but I think Justin is the premiere pitcher in the Valley League — I really do,” Turks manager Bob Wease said.

Opposing teams don’t have much of an argument. In 38 innings for Harrisonburg (18-7), Camp has limited opposing teams to just five earned runs and 18 hits. Not bad for a rising redshirt-sophomore who missed his true freshman year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.

“[Those numbers] were what I was hoping for,” Camp said. “I was really looking to have a good summer coming up here getting some good work in.”

Wease said that Camp could end up being one of the best hurlers he’s ever had on the Turks.

“Every time I’ve seen him, he’s gotten better and better and better,” Wease said. “He’s going to have success wherever he goes. I look for Justin Camp to go a long ways in baseball.”

Jordan Tarsovich, center fielder, Strasburg:

A rising senior at VMI, Tarsovich has carried his collegiate success over into the Valley League. The leadoff batter for the Strasburg Express, Tarsovich is leading the Valley League in hitting, posting a .430 batting average through 22 games.

“He hits leadoff for [Strasburg] and any inning he comes to bat is dangerous,” Aldie’s Lemley said.

Tarsovich, a center fielder from Midlothian, gets on base any way he can. He has five doubles, a triple, one home run and 12 walks for Strasburg (11-13). He already has 14 multi-hit games. Many VBL managers are pitching around him, only to find him tearing up the base paths.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of working around him, but he runs well too,” Lemley said. “Even when we’ve tried to pitch around him he’s able to manufacture runs for them without getting a hit. Just because of his speed he’s dangerous.”

Adam Parks, starting pitcher, Charles Town:

After a lackluster freshman year at Liberty in which he allowed 17 runs in 17 1/3 innings, Parks has turned it around this summer for Charles Town (16-11). The 6-foot-3, 220-pound righty is 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA in four starts for the Cannons.

“We’ve seen him twice,” Lemley said. “He’s been probably the top pitcher we’ve seen this year. He stayed probably 90-91 [miles per hour] both nights we’ve seen him.”

Parks ranks second in the VBL with 40 strikeouts. His crowning achievement, however, is his seven-inning perfect game on June 29 against Woodstock.

Even when Parks isn’t perfect, he can work through struggles to keep the Cannons competitive.

“One night he didn’t have a very good curveball early in the game, but he battled through and found it and was able to keep us down even without his best stuff,” Lemley said. “He’s been pretty impressive every time I’ve seen him.”

Dalton Potts, starting pitcher, Front Royal:

While the Front Royal Cardinals (11-15) might be having a down year in the standings, their No. 1 pitcher is getting people talking.

Potts, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound left-hander out of Tennessee-Martin, has missed enough Valley League bats to earn an invite to the All-Star game. On July 2, he baffled the first-place Turks for seven innings as Front Royal beat Harrisonburg 1-0.

“He jumped out [on Tuesday night],” Wease said. “I really liked him — I thought he knew how to pitch. I thought he had a great changeup and a nice curve.”

A rising junior, Potts started 12 games for UT-Martin this spring, going 4-7 with a 6.03 ERA. His pitching style, which Wease called, “wild enough to be effective,” has stymied the Valley League. Potts enters the All-Star break with a 0.74 ERA.

“That was probably the best pitching performance I’ve seen this year against us,” Wease said.

Bryant Hayman, catcher, Staunton:

Staunton’s Bryant Hayman is putting on a home run display this summer.

The Valdosta State rising junior will go into the All-Star break with at least seven home runs — three more than next-best Erik Armstrong of Strasburg. And he’s doing this as a catcher, a position that puts extra strain on the body.

As a sophomore this spring, Hayman hit a team-best eight home runs for the Blazers. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Waycross, Ga., native didn’t waste any time when he joined the Braves (14-11) this summer, hitting home runs in his first three games.

Hayman’s seven home runs this season are more than seven VBL teams have hit so far. His 26 RBIs rank second in the league to Staunton teammate James Vasquez of Central Florida.