Luke Berryhill exploded on the Valley League scene on June 8, 2018.

The catcher from South Carolina had just joined the team, and was inserted into the starting lineup as the team’s designated hitter by Purcellville head coach Brett Fuller in the Cannons’ game in Strasburg. In the first inning, Berryhill was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. In the third, he blasted a home run with one runner on base. In the fifth, he struck out swinging. In the seventh, an inning in which Purcellville would score 11 runs, he hit both a three-run bomb and a grand slam. Lastly, and somewhat disappointedly, in the ninth, Berryhill struck out with two runners on base. Overall, in his VBL debut, Berryhill went 3-5, with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

He didn’t stay long- his last summer game was on June 20, at least partially due to a sore arm- but that debut may never be topped.

Berryhill was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 13th round in 2019. In January, 2021, the Reds traded him to the Houston Astros, and in his first year with his new club, Berryhill showed enough to be named the organization’s All-Star at catcher.

Over three levels- Low-A Fayetteville, High-A Asheville, and Double-A Corpus Christi- Berryhill hit a combined .295/.413/.561 in 244 at-bats, with 20 doubles, 15 home runs, 54 RBIs, and 37 walks against 90 strikeouts. The Astros named him their Minor League Player of the Year, and assistant General Manager Pete Putila said, “He’s a really physically gifted guy. He made a big swing adjustment. He had a lot of movement pre-swing, but he was able to quiet some of that down for more consistency of contact and quality of contact.”

Berryhill on the left; Andrew Eyster to the right