Valley League honors top players, coach
Story by Chris Graham
Winchester player Luke Greinke and Waynesboro coach Lawrence Nesselrodt picked up the two biggest Valley League postseason honors today.
Greinke, a first baseman-outfielder-pitcher, was named the league’s most valuable player, while Nesselrodt was named coach of the year.
Greinke, a rising senior at Auburn, led the Valley with a .417 batting average, .517 on-base percentage and a .642 slugging percentage while hitting five homers and driving in 32 runs for Winchester this summer. Greinke also posted some impressive numbers on the mound – going 3-1 with a 2.66 earned-run average in eight appearances covering 50 2/3 innings.
Nesselrodt was named the top coach in the Valley for the second consecutive season. Waynesboro finished the regular season atop the league standings with a 30-13 record – and the Generals currently hold a 1-0 lead in the league championship series over defending Valley League champion Luray.
Named to the All-Valley League team for 2007 were:
– Waynesboro first baseman Kurt Davidson (Akron), who led the league with 61 hits and 51 RBI while hitting .305 with five home runs.
– Waynesboro second baseman Brandon Sizemore (Tallahassee C.C, who was third in the league with 53 hits and led the Generals with 13 doubles.
– Luray shortstop Tyler Kuhn (West Virginia), the 2006 league MVP, who hit .314 with three homers, 21 RBI and seven stolen bases.
– Front Royal third baseman Bennett Davis (Manatee C.C.), who hit .280 with three homers, 30 RBI and scored 30 runs.
– Harrisonburg outfielder Robert Taylor (Arkansas-Little Rock), who hit .352 with a .420 on-base percentage.
– Covington outfielder Jason Kipnis (Kentucky), who tied for the league lead with nine home runs, was first in the league with 46 runs scored and ranked second in RBI (46), on-base percentage (.498), slugging (.591) and stolen bases (24).
– Winchester outfielder Jose Cueto (Virginia Tech), who was fourth in the Valley with a .328 batting average and led the Royals with six homers.
– New Market catcher catcher Nick Stanley (South Florida C.C.), who hit .325 to finish fifth in the league.
– New Market DH Nolan Brannon (Tampa), who hit .323 with 41 hits, six doubles, 17 RBI and 15 walks.
– Waynesboro pitcher Jon Dages (Butler), who went 7-2 with a 2.62 ERA.
– Luray starting pitchers Robert Gilliam (UNC-Greensboro) and Dustin Umberger (Liberty). Gilliam won the honor of the league’s ERA leader for the regular season and carries a 1.26 mark and a 7-1 record into the championship series. He also has a save and has struck out 81 batters in 57 innings. Umberger ranks second in the league with a 1.45 ERA and led the league with eight wins on a perfect 8-0 record. He ranks third with 76 strikeouts in 56 innings.
– Front Royal closer Joel Brookens (North Carolina State). Brookens leads the league with 13 saves and ranks second with 19 games finished. He had a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings and held opponents to a .129 batting average.
– Harrisonburg relief pitcher Garrett Parker (Howard-Payne) was 2-1 with a 0.84 ERA and eight saves in 21 1/3 innings. He did not allow a run until the postseason and ranks fifth in the league in saves.
– Staunton closer Bobby Hernandez (Barry) was second in the league with 12 saves and second with 21 appearances. He had a 1.78 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings while holding opponents to a .143 batting average.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.