The 2019 Southeast Collegiate Prospect Showcase, held in Cary, North Carolina on Monday and Tuesday, brought together five summer leagues to play a few games in front of scouts and a few fans.
The Valley League took 25 prospects to the mini-tournament, and while the squad didn’t win both of its games, it also didn’t lose either one (stay with me here).
The team, chosen the same day as the All-Star teams a few weeks ago, left Monday morning to drive South to the USA Baseball Complex. The team went through a few assessments (like a bio capture, for example), and then prepared to play game one that afternoon, at 4 p.m.
Valley League vs Southern League
In humidity so thick you could almost see it, the Valley League took care of business rather handily, beating the Southern League 7-2.
Deven Hemenway (Charlottesville) started things on the mound, and he cruised through the first two innings, giving up only one hit while striking out two. With two outs in the top of the third, Sonny Dicharia (Strasburg, and announced as “Sonny D”) singled to center. Wes Clarke (Waynesboro) walked, and Andrew Czech (Staunton) singled to load the bases, leading to a Domenic Boselli (Covington) hard grounder to second base, which took a weird hop and hit the Southern second baseman in the chest, allowing Dicharia to score.
Michael Anderson (Winchester) entered the game in the third, and besides an error on himself on a comebacker, cruised through the inning with no trouble. In the bottom of the third, Christian Torres led off with a bloop double down the left field line, and Willy Escala (Woodstock) followed with a single, moving Torres to third. Kobe Bryant (Waynesboro) brought Torres in with a sacrifice fly to left, making the score 3-0. Escala stole second, and then, finding himself ignored, stole third without a throw. Jed Bryant (Harrisonburg) then hit a lazy fly ball to left that fell to earth untouched, which eventually was scored an RBI double. 4-0 Valley.
Anderson mowed through the fourth, and Will Brian (Harrisonburg), his replacement, struck out two in a shutout fifth. Brian ran into some trouble in the sixth inning when the Southern League hit a single and double, putting runners on second and third with only one out, but he struck out the next two batters swinging to squash the threat.
The Valley pushed across three runs in the seventh, with the obvious big blow being a two-run home run to deep left center struck by Boselli. Jackson Tate (Waynesboro) followed with a ground rule double to left, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Torres sacrifice fly.
Alex Hoppe (Harrisonburg) eased through the seventh, but ran into some trouble in the eighth. In a pretty steady rain, Hoppe got a little wild, and the Southern League pushed across two runs on only one hit, but were benefitted by an error as well. Cole McNamee (Harrisonburg) finished off the eighth.
The Valley added a run in the ninth when Andrew Kasiski (Purcellville) walked with one out, and came around to score after another walk, hit-by-pitch, and then a walk to Josh Madole (Harrisonburg) to force the run in.
McNamee then pitched an uneventful ninth to send the Valley back to the hotel with a 7-2 win. Tate had two hits for the Valley, while Boselli drove in three runs. The pitchers combined allowed only four hits, three walks, and struck out 11.
Florida League vs Valley League
This game started at a rather unusual time- 9:30 a.m.- although you wouldn’t know it from the heat. If anything, this morning was more sweltering that the afternoon before.
The start time didn’t seem to affect Tristen Bayless (Woodstock), though, who started the game on the mound for the Valley, and put on the most dominating performance at the event, striking out all six of the batters he faced.
The Valley pushed across a run in the second inning, thanks to a one-out Clarke double, two walks, and then a third walk by Torres to force Clarke in.
Joseph Sprake (Charlottesville) threw a clean two innings, the third and fourth, allowing no hits or walks and striking out one. The plucky Andrew Kasiski showed surprising speed in the fourth, hitting a single to lead off the inning, going to third on a Aidan Nagle (Woodstock) single, and scoring on a wild pitch.
Justin Showalter (Staunton) kept the lead at two with two shutout innings of his own, but the Florida League went ahead in the seventh against Eli Ellington (Harrisonburg), who struggled with his control, walking three and allowing a double. The Valley League immediately tied the game in the bottom of the inning, though, when Nagle and Torres walked, moved up a bag on a Thomas Francisco (Charlottesville) ground out, and Nagle scored on a Madole sacrifice fly.
Ellington would throw a clean eighth inning, and Christian Edwards (Waynesboro) dominated in the ninth, but the hitters were unable to get a rally going in the bottom of the last inning, sending the teams home with an unfulfilling tie, 3-3.
So while the Valley League didn’t win both games, they didn’t lose one, either, leaving the League undefeated in the three years of this event.