Let’s begin with previous winners:

2018- Andrew Eyster, New Market
2017- Michael Wielansky, Charlottesville
2016- Zach Sterry, Waynesboro
2015- Shane Billings, Harrisonburg
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

It took some maneuvering to get him here, but the Woodstock River Bandits are sure glad that Aidan Nagle was able to come all the way across the country and join the Valley League.

Nagle’s father, Mike, played in the Valley League for Winchester in 1983, so the League was not unknown to the Nagles, but Aidan got connected with Woodstock through Lawrence Nesselrodt, current West Virginia Tech and former Waynesboro General head coach. Nesselrodt was recruiting Nagle withthe hopes of having him join his team in 2020, and informed Woodstock head coach Mike Bocock that Nagle might be available. Bocock’s assistant, Paul Ackerman, played against Mike Nagle years ago at Alleghany College, and recommended the young man.

Once he arrived, Nagle served notice immediately that he was a force to reckon with.

From the opener on May 31, he proceeded to get at least one hit in his first 17 games, at which point he was slashing .471/.544/.691. He came down a bit from that point in the season to the end, but not by much. He finished in the top three in nine different offensive categories.

2019 40 160 47 65 10 0 11 33 23 26 9 0 0.406 0.492 0.675
Play 5 20 9 8 1 1 3 6 4 5 1 0 0.400 0.520 1.000

Get a load of this: Nagle finished first in the league in OPS, slugging percentage, total bases (with 108), home runs, hits, and runs. He also finished third in batting average, on-base percentage, and RBIs. He also finish eighth in walks, and tied for eighth in doubles.

He had four hits in a game twice, three hits 11 times, and two hits eight times. He was an All-Star (although he caught a pitch with his ribs the night before, so he wouldn’t have been able to play in the game, even if it hadn’t rained), and a Prospect Showcase participant. He was first team All-Valley League in the outfield, and, of course, the Most Valuable Player of the entire league. He was hitter of the day twice, and is Perfect Game’s third best prospect in the league.

He had at least four games that would make a baseball fan sit up and take notice:

  • June 19, against Waynesboro, 4-6, run, double, home run, three RBIs
  • July 9, at Staunton, 3-6, two runs, two home runs, five RBIs
  • July 21, at Covington, 3-4, four runs, double, home run, three RBIs, two walks
  • July 30, at Strasburg, 3-6, three runs, two home runs, five RBIs

Nagle, currently a junior at Lewis-Clark State, the NAIA national power, spent his first two seasons at Cuesta College, a community college in California, where he had to overcome quite a bit of adversity. First of all, he broke his hand in the summer of 2017, and played with the injury for so long that he had to sit out a year, not even hefting a bat for nine months.

Even after returning, he had a car accident in March of 2019, giving the young man a concussion and forcing him to miss three games. While he was out, he had a epiphany, came back stronger mentally, and went on a tear, hitting over .450 the rest of the way and ending the season with a 20-game hitting streak.

2017 34 103 14 30 8 0 3 18 17 12 2 0 0.291 0.397 0.456
2019 35 123 23 48 10 2 4 38 22 26 7 0 0.375 0.468 0.578

Nagle was named 2nd team Western North Conference in 2017, and in 2019, he was named to the first team California Community College Southern California All-State Team, Western State Conference North Division 1st Team All-Conference, and ABCA/Rawlings Pacific Association 2nd Team All-American, all at first base.