2021 Preview: Staunton

Organizational Details

  • Last VBL Title: 1999
  • General Manager/Recruiter: Steve Cox
  • Head Coach: Caleb Abney: Abney worked as a minor league hitting coach in the Gulf Coast League in 2019, and Covenant College’s hitting coach in 2020 and 2021.
  • Key Alumni: Will Harris (2003), Nick Margevicius (2015), Tyler Zombro (2014), Nate Pearson (2016), Thad Ward (2016)

2019 Season Recap

Staunton Braves logoIn 2019, Staunton finished fourth in the South Division, one game ahead of Harrisonburg, and two behind third place Covington. Although heavy underdogs, Staunton shocked South champs Waynesboro in the first round of the playoffs, two games to none, winning both games easily, 8-2 and 9-2. However, the next round was different. Although the team put up a battle, Staunton lost to eventual VBL champs Charlottesville two games to one. The team MVP was Andrew Czech (Walsh), team Cy Young was Reid Celata (UMBC), and team “Glue Guy” was Ryan McCarty (Penn State Abingdon).

Returners

Key Hitters

(Stats through Wednesday, May 12)

  • McCarty and Rooklin will be key up the middle and helpful with their previous experience
  • Joseph Holiga (Walsh)- has a good pedigree, can drive the ball for extra bases, one of Walsh’s best hitters (and following in the footsteps of Czech… can Holiga duplicate Czech’s success?) He’s hitting .337/.429/.589 in 163 at-bats, with 11 doubles and 10 home runs.
  • Marshall Awtrey (Goldey Beacom)- “I’m excited to see what he can do,” Abney said. He’s hitting .329 with nine doubles and six home runs in only 79 at-bats.
  • Andrew Bennett (Samford)- has only 25 at-bats this spring, but he has “lots of power,” according to Abney.
  • Hayden Winters (Houston)- another big kid with power

Key Pitchers

The Staunton pitching coach will be Bailey Hall, who attended Eastern Mennonite and pitched for Staunton in both 2018 and 2019.

  • Celata will pitch at the front of the rotation- might be opening night starter.
  • Frank Doelling (Rider)- hard throwing lefty who can throw three pitches for strikes, and has 43 K’s in 40 innings this spring.
  • Paredes- Abney is unsure of his role, but Paredes was good in 2019… and hit two home runs in the playoffs!
  • Tanner Moyers (Lenoir-Rhyne)- a local kid who will probably be in the starting rotation. He’s started eight games this spring, and averages just about a strikeout per inning.
  • Jalon Long (Samford)- has a low-90’s sinker and good changeup, and has struck out 32 batters in 27 2/3 innings this spring
  • Maddux Miller (Houston)- “closer-type guy”

Other Notes

  • Brayden Siren (Middle Tennessee State) is listed at 6-foot-11, which would make him one of the tallest men to ever play in the Valley. If I remember correctly, he’s one inch taller than James Ziemba (Harrisonburg 2014-15) and the same height as Jon Rauch (Harrisonburg 1998). It might be an interesting evening to see Staunton face off against Covington in a basketball game.
  • Staunton will have a number of local kids suiting up for the club: Jack Masloff (VCU, from Charlottesville- attended Miller School), Jacob Matheney (Patrick Henry, from Craigsville- attended Buffalo Gap High School), Moyers (from Bridgewater- attended Turner Ashby), and Grant Painter (JMU, from Staunton- attended Riverheads).

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