Before we get to our best 2015 hitter, let’s take a look at the winners since 2007:
2014: Gunnar McNeill, Staunton
2013: Jordan Tarsovich, Strasburg
2012: Jimmy Yezzo, Winchester
2011: Brad Zebedis, Strasburg
2010: Cory Spangenberg, Winchester
2009: Stephen McQuail, Front Royal
2008: Tyler Townsend, Winchester
2007: Jason Kipnis, Covington
Pretty high-powered list!
Well, the name that shall be added to this list is Harrisonburg’s Shane Billings, the outfielder who attends Division-II Wingate.
Shane was actually a pretty easy selection, as he hit 418/483/549 in 153 at-bats during the summer, along with 45 runs (in only 39 games!), 64 hits, 6 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, 15 RBIs, 21 stolen bases, and a super 19/13 BB/K ratio. He led the league in runs, hits, batting average, on-base percentage, and tied for 1st in triples. He was 2nd in stolen bases and slugging percentage, and 3rd in walks. He was named the league’s MVP, and he was the only Valley Leaguer to be named to PG Crosschecker’s list of summer All-Americans– as a third-team selection. Billings also went 1-3 in the “seeding game,” and then went 4-14 in the playoffs for the Turks, with a double, triple, and 5 RBIs. What a season! (By the way, his total number of triples tied for the most in the league since 2004, and his batting average is the 5th best, also since 2004.) Oh- Shane is signed up to come back to Harrisonburg for the 2016 season, too.
Honestly, though, it would have been possible to see that Shane was going to have a great summer just by his college stats so far.
In 2014, as a freshman for the Bulldogs, Shane hit 328/371/451 in 195 at-bats, with 45 runs, 64 hits, 27 RBIs, 7 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs, 6 stolen bases, and a 9/26 BB/K ratio. He led his team in runs, finished second in batting average, hits, and triples, and finished third in slugging percentage.
Pretty awesome freshman year, but Shane still took a huge step forward in his sophomore year in 2015. Try this on for size: he hit 408/455/604 in 255 at-bats, with 79 runs, 104 hits, 43 RBIs, 16 doubles, 2 triples, 10 home runs, 26 stolen bases, and an 18/34 BB/K ratio. He led the Bulldogs in batting average, hits, and stolen bases. He finished 2nd in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and runs.
After the season, to no one’s surprise, the accolades started pouring in. Shane was named the following:
- 1st team North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association All-State
- All-SAC (South Atlantic Conference) 1st Team
- 1st team All-Region from NCBWA, ABCA, and Daktronics
- 1st team All-American from Daktronics and NCWBA
- 2nd team All-American ABCA
Now, let’s see if Shane can duplicate his success this spring!