Our fourth best hitter in the 2019 Valley League season is a returner to the league, except quite a few years apart, and for different teams.
A 2016 Charlottesville Tom Sox (Sock?), Norfolk State’s Caleb Ward returned to the Valley League in 2019 for the Woodstock River Bandits, and showed an excellent blend of patience and power to become one of the top hitters in the league:
Ward finished fourth in the league in batting average, third in OPS, first in on base percentage (second best OBP in the league since 2004), sixth in slugging percentage, first in walks, sixth in total bases (with 74), tied for fifth in RBIs, eighth in home runs, tied for tenth in doubles, and tied for sixth in hits. He finished in the top ten in every single category except for triples and runs scored.
He was the hitter of the day on June 30 against Waynesboro, when he went 3-4 with two runs, a home run, and three RBIs, as well as on July 30 at Strasburg, when he went a crazy 5-6, with two runs, a double, and two RBIs. He also went 4-4 on July 28 against New Market, along with two runs, a double, home run, walk, and three RBIs.
He had a ten game hitting streak from June 7 to June 21, and in a crazy five game stretch during that streak, he went 12-20, with four runs, two doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs, and three walks.
He was an All-Star midseason, and was named to 1st Team All-League in the outfield at the end of the season.
Ward played at Richmond for two seasons in college, sat out a year because of transfer rules (don’t get me started), and then in 2019 for Norfolk State:
He also played summer ball in the Jayhawk League in 2017 for the Liberal BeeJays:
Congratulations on your amazing summer, Caleb!