Before we give the stats of our best reliever of the 2021 season, let’s take a quick look at the history of the “award”:

2019- Conor Miller, Woodstock
2018- Anthony Zimmerman, Purcellville
2017- Thomas Sutera, Purcellville
2016- Zach Neff, Waynesboro
2015- Patrick Wiseman, Harrisonburg
2014- Reece Karalus, Aldie
2013- Adam Zipko, New Market
2012- Shay Maltese, Haymarket
2011- Patrick Christensen, Harrisonburg
2010- Zach Blatt, Luray
2009- Brian Burgess, New Market
2008- Dan Gentzler, New Market
2007- Jimmy Stanley, Waynesboro

(I always stare at these lists in some sort of wonder; the stories wrapped up with these names are amazing. Does anyone remember the game in 2007 when Jimmy Stanley came in from the bullpen and ended up going something like eight shutout innings? In 2013 Adam Zipko didn’t give up an earned run all season long! Anyway.)

The best reliever in the 2021 Valley League season is none other than lefty Ryan Ammons, who appeared in the very first Strasburg game on June 5th, and also finished off the final game of the championship series against Waynesboro on July 31. (Which is pretty unusual in summer baseball.)

In the regular season, Ammons went 3-0, 0.96 in 18 2/3 innings, with four saves, a .131 BAA, 0.802 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9, and 15.4 K/9. Among pitchers on this list, he finished third in ERA, tenth in innings pitched, first in BAA, first in WHIP, and third in K/9. He was named first team All-Valley at the end of the season. Strasburg went 13-1 in his games- the only loss was that first one, June 5th, against Woodstock. Between June 9 and July 28, he threw 14 1/3 shutout innings in a row while striking out 24 batters.

His probable best two games were on June 28, against Front Royal, went he threw two shutout innings while allowing one hit, one walk, and struck out four, and July 3, against Staunton, when he threw two no-hit, shutout innings, walking one and striking out four. He had an amazing summer, obviously helping Strasburg win the VBL title.

Ammons has spent two seasons at Clemson, but hasn’t seen much action as yet. In 2020, he threw just a third of an inning, and in 2021, he walked six and struck out nine in four innings. I daresay he will get some more action soon. He’s still doing the work in the classroom, though; he was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll twice already.

Congratulations to Ryan and all of the top players from 2021!

(Click here to see the 2021 list, and here to see the top relievers from 2015 to 2019!)