Today we have a matchup between two righthanders who plied their trade in the Valley eight years apart…

  • Evan Rathburn is here for his knockout regular season, but the Strasburg Express would not have advanced to the 2019 finals if he hadn’t been even better in the playoffs. Rathburn, a 6-foot, 180 pound righthanded junior from Central Missouri, was the winning pitcher in back-to-back semi-final games against the Woodstock River Bandits, when the Express were hurting for arms and didn’t know exactly where their nine innings would come from. (Rathburn’s parents, Edwin and Eileen, were there to cheer him on and nervously stand in the bleachers. Both.) In the regular season, Rathburn went 2-0, 0.67 in 13 1/3 innings, with a 1.278 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, and 12.2 K/9. He then went on to go 2-0, 0.00 in 6 2/3 innings in the playoffs. At Central Missouri in 2020, Rathburn went a ridiculous 2-0, 0.00 in 8 1/3 innings, with three saves and a 0/11 BB/K ratio before Covid shut things down. He is back there for 2021.
  • Patrick Christensen was the top reliever in the Valley League in 2011 for the Harrisonburg Turks after going 2-1, 1.20, with ten saves, a 0.833 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, and 13.8 K/9 in 30 innings. The freshman from La Salle walked nine and struck out an incredible 46. He continued to pitch well for La Salle, and even went to the Cape in 2012, where he walked six and struck out 37 in 27 1/3 innings. So after his junior year, he was drafted in the 27th round by the Houston Astros. He “only” lasted two seasons in the minors, but he went 6-3, 3.53, with a 21/84 BB/K ratio in 81 2/3 total innings.

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And by the way, if you want to read a ton about either the 2015 or 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out this post on the 2019 Valley League Annual.

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