The “Striking” 2019 Valley League All-Star Game

By Maddie McNamee

The 2019 VBL All-Star Game was plentiful of striking, as in lightning and pitching. The game was called after three and a half innings of play, where the South Division scored one run and the North Division came out scoreless.

Rather than being drenched in sweat from the cruel heat and humidity of July, players were soaked from the intermittent storms. Umbrellas were clearly the accessory of the day in Harrisonburg at Eagle Field.

The all-star pitchers lived up to their name, as there was only one hit the entire game. Charlottesville’s Joe Sprake (Elon) pitched a one-two-three first inning for the South. In the bottom of the first, Staunton’s Andrew Czech (Walsh) hit a single against Mason Kenney, which advanced Waynesboro’s Wes Clarke (South Carolina/Liberty Christian H.S.) to third, who was walked. The inning ended after a groundout.

The only scoring of the game happened in the bottom of the second inning. Strasburg’s Bryce O’Brien (Young Harris) gave up one run, but no hits. He walked the first two batters, to put himself in a two on, no outs situation. Waynesboro’s Kobe Lopez (Florida International) then hit into a potential double play, but was safe at first off of a fielder’s choice. Waynesboro’s Jackson Tate (Alabama) scored. The inning ended after Lopez was caught trying to steal second, followed by a fly out.

Throughout the night, rain fell from the sky, and so did fly balls. The pace of the game was expediting as most players were either striking out or hitting fly outs. This made each at bat somewhat short, as almost if each player was trying to escape the drenching downpour. Thunder was certainly the soundtrack of the game.

The third inning was scoreless, as Waynesboro’s Deven Judy (Gannon) struck out two for the South. Woodstock’s Tristen Bayless (Houston) pitched the bottom of the inning for the North and only faced three batters. 

The most hitting action of the day came from the Home Run Derby right before the game. Strasburg’s Tyler Johnson (Eastern Oklahoma State) won with four home runs. Charlottesville’s Walker Imwalle (Davidson) was not far behind, as he finished in second after hitting three home runs. However, even the beginning of the derby lacked runs as the first round concluded with a 10-way tie, after no contestant was able to hit a home run. Each player was given a second chance in the second round.

To put it in one word, the 2019 All Star Game simply was striking. 

2019 All-Star lineup North

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