Welcome to our Wednesday matchup in our “Best Reliever in the Valley League in the Last Ten Years” bracket!
- Kevin Becker-Menditto defeated Haymarket’s Shay Maltese in the first round, 75% to 25% (8 votes). His writeup: “Kevin Becker-Menditto will go down as one of the best Division-III players in the Valley League. Coming from Alvernia, Becker-Menditto was the second-best reliever in the league in 2014, going 2-0, 0.93, with seven saves, a 0.725 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, and 6.5 K/9 in 19 1/3 innings for Front Royal. He also had a .117 batting average against, proving to be exceedingly difficult to hit. After graduation, Becker-Menditto went on to pitch one season for the Garden State Grays in the independent CanAm League. He was also named to D3baseball.com’s All-Decade first team.”
- Evan Rathburn defeated Harrisonburg’s Patrick Christensen in the first round, 73.9% to 26.1% (23 votes). His writeup: “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.”
Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL.
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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