#14 Hitter: Dylan Menhennett, Front Royal

It’s usually very positive when parents visit their ball-playing sons during the summer. True, I’ve seen arguments in the parking lot, and every once in a while a set of parents might make life, ahem, “interesting” for a coaching staff, but almost always the visit is a positive thing.

Chalk up another positive visit when Dylan Menhennett’s dad visited Front Royal late in the season. Menhennett was hitting .274/.355/.406 at that point. Over the next six games – coincidentally his last six of the summer – he went 16-30 at the plate, with nine runs scored, seven doubles, two home runs, and eight RBIs. He raised his slash line to a final of .331/.395/.544, all thanks, allegedly, to a golfing outing with his father the morning his streak started. He was exhausted heading into the game, but his dad’s frantic search for some pineapple to help his son recover was successful, and Dylan could do nothing but hit doubles and home runs from that point.

Here’s what his final stats look like:

VBL G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS Avg OBP SLG
2019 34 136 33 45 15 1 4 21 11 31 14 2 0.331 0.395 0.544

Menhennett finished sixth in total bases (with 74), tied for tenth in hits, tied for fifth in runs scored, and tied for first in doubles. He was hitter of the day twice- June 7 and July 13- and was the last Player of the Week of the regular season after his outburst after the golf outing. He was an All-Star, and was named first team All-Valley League at second base after the season.

The rising senior from West Florida started his college career at Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he spent two years before transferring to join the Argonauts.

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS Avg OBP SLG
2017 28 47 25 9 3 0 1 11 5 10 3 1 0.191 0.322 0.319
2018 52 180 73 57 19 7 19 54 28 37 12 2 0.317 0.427 0.617
2019 51 156 32 41 5 3 4 31 15 25 7 0 0.263 0.339 0.410

Congratulations on your excellent year!

3 comments

  1. Grateful for Dylan having the opportunity this year with the Valley League. His host family (Rob and Deloris Oates) was incredible and I’ll be forever a fan of Front Royal Cardinals and the League.

    For Context on the pineapple thing…(It all came from a FB post where I sat in bed the next morning and wanted to just get it out what I’d experienced the day before.

    From July 14:
    I need to tire Dylan out on the golf course more often before games. We got to play Shenandoah Valley GC yesterday morning. We were spent after getting back to the house to rest before he needed to report. So much so we passed out sitting in chairs napping for nearly an hour. As we left he noted that he hoped he didn’t play 2nd base today as he was too tired to pay attention to play baseball. Luckily he was positioned in RF and he fielded just fine. His first two at bats weren’t stellar resulting in two first pitch outs (grounder and flyout). The first I missed as he called while I was eating dinner to ask me to pick up some pineapple to eat before the game. That started a wild goose chase around Front Royal in several mom & pop self-labeled “grocery stores” near Bing Crosby stadium. None of them had fresh fruit and the closest I found was a 3 month expired can of fruit cocktail. That caused me to go further away and find an actual proper grocery store resulting in my late arrival. As I walked in I heard Dylan being called to plate to lead off the bottom of the first. I hadn’t taken 5 steps when the next hitter was announced. I said out loud “That was quick!”. This caused some people I walked by who were headed to the carnival next to the field to look at me as I was off my rocker. I finally get inside the stadium and deliver the bounty of golden energy infused nuggets that Dylan thinks will restore his baseball prowess he lost on the golf course earlier that day. I’m in my seat for his next at bat and the pineapple hasn’t kicked in quite yet as he flies out unceremoniously on the first pitch. In the 5th inning he comes to the plate and almost as the pitcher took pity on Dylan the first pitch is far outside. Dylan is spared the indignity of a 3rd “1 and done” at bat as he might have been inclined to try too hard to make something happen early on. He works that at bat to a 2-0 count before drilling a grounder down the 3rd base stripe knocking in his first of 3 RBIs. In the 7th his next at bat is a 1-0 count line drive hit over the head of the 3B and it curls enough to make the LF give chase to the corner. That allowed Dylan to leg out a double before the ball got back to the infield. In the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs he steps to the plate for what should be his final time for the night. After a runner comes in on a wild pitch the batter before there is one runner on 1st base when Dylan steps in the box. He didn’t get a 1-0 count to start this at bat. Without hesitation he turned on the first pitch thrown, a fastball left up in the zone. And it just disappeared into the black of the night. I was seated just off the umpire’s right shoulder looking down 3rd base and the field is lit well. But the ball climbed fast and I tracked it into the darkness. Usually you can see balls going over at the point where they come down on the other side. But this one just seemed to vaporize into the ether. Everyone in the stands got loud and I looked down to see Dylan a moment later taking off to round ’em all. I stood there clapping as he came home to his teammates and was glad to see the top of the 9th wrap up quickly.

    After the game I waited for him with others and a few kids like all the other nights. As he came out to say bye two little girls walked up with balls and pens. The one’s mother said her daughter wouldn’t leave until she saw #5 and #7. Of all the things that night this moment made me happiest. He takes the ball with a smile and a slight blush that is detectable under the sun he got earlier in the day on the course. As he signs he tells them all thank you for even coming out and watching. He hands the balls he’s signed back and looks at me and says he’s gotta get back in the locker room. Turns out coach is pissed that they’ve not been cleaning up quick enough after games. I give him a hug and he turns back to go inside the fence and wrap up his eventful day.

    As I leave I have to admit a huge proud papa moment of a day. This summer has been a blast and a whirlwind of driving hundreds of miles back and forth to see Dylan play.

    I wouldn’t trade it for the world, to see your son become a man while playing a kid’s game. How’d I get so lucky?!

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