Annnnnnnnd, here’s our next matchup in the bracket of “Best Valley League Reliever in the Past Ten Years!”
- Matt Blair defeated Adam Zipko in the first round, 61.5% to 38.5% (13 votes). His writeup: “A 6-foot-3, 215 pound righthander from Mercer, Matt Blair redshirted his first year in college, but that didn’t stop him from dominating in Front Royal in 2018. In 16 games and 21 1/3 innings, Blair went 2-0, 0.84, with a 0.892 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, and 15.2 K/9 (that’s from nine walks and 36 K’s). Among pitchers from the 2018 list, Blair finished 4th in ERA, 2nd in batting average against, 7th in WHIP, 4th in K/9, and was named 2nd Team All-Valley, and the third best reliever by ATVL. He gave up earned runs in only two of his regular season appearances, and had two different stretches of 9 shutout innings in a row, from June 10 through July 3rd, and July 7th through July 26th. Since that summer, Blair has pitched in six games for Mercer in 2019, and in one game for Georgia College in 2020.”
- Trevin Eubanks walloped Front Royal’s Mike Grace in round one, 93% to 7% (43 votes). His writeup: “In the summer of 2018, New Market righthander Trevin Eubanks got to experience something that most pitchers don’t- he struck out the last batter for a championship team. This meant he was the victim of the dogpile, but I can’t imagine that it wasn’t worth it. But lest we forget, the big, physical senior also was lights-out all summer. In fact, when the second game of the finals was beginning (the same game that Trevin ended with a K), a general manager of another VBL team said to me, “Charlottesville better get ahead in this game, because if they don’t, and [New Market] gets to Eubanks in the pen… it’s over.” Well, he was exactly right. In the regular season, Eubanks went 2-0, 1.50, with a 0.833 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, and 18.0 K/9 in 18 innings (9 walks and 36 K’s). In the playoffs, he went 0-0, 4.50, with one save and four more K’s in four more innings. At the conclusion of the season, he was named the league’s 2nd best reliever. In 2019, he transferred to Valdosta State for his senior year, and went 0-4, 5.40, with 14 walks and 41 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. After his college career, he signed with Schaumburg of the independent Frontier League, where he appeared in 10 games in 2019, striking out 13 in 13 2/3 innings.”
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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