VBL Notebook: Offensive depth keys Rebels success this season
NEW MARKET — New Market sits in second place in the Valley Baseball League standings, and a big part of the reason is the depth the Rebels have offensively.
New Market is fourth in the league in batting average (.278) and the Rebels lead the league with 19 home runs.
“Our lineup is really deep,” New Market head coach Zac Cole said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. “I think almost our whole starting lineup is hitting .300 or close to it. …We may not have a 400 hitter, but we have a guy in the 9-hole that’s got five doubles, two homers and hitting .300. And that makes us really difficult to pitch to and navigate through that lineup. Because you can’t fall asleep. You stop paying attention for a second and all of a sudden a guy bangs a double in the gap. It doesn’t matter where you’re at in the order.”
The Rebels are 18-12, after starting the season 0-3, and are just one game behind first-place Purcellville in the North Division.
Cole said that while he would love to win the North Division, the main goals for the team stay the same.
“Our core goals of what this summer is about is for our guys to get better,” Cole said. “And if we’re coming out every day and we’re competing like we have been then ultimately we feel like all these guys are going to go back to school and be better than when they got here. And if we do that it’s a successful summer and everything else on top of that is icing on the cake.”
HOME RUN KING: Strasburg’s Brandon Quaranta (Philadelphia University) won the Home Run Derby at this past weekend’s All-Star game.
The Express slugger hit 12 home runs in the championship round to win it. Quaranta, who is batting .327 with 31 RBIs, has hit seven home runs this season for the Express.
Quaranta beat New Market’s Jake Washer, 12-4, in the finals. He hit a total of 20 in the three rounds combined.
As a team Strasburg has hit the second-most homers in the league this season with 17.
After a slow start to the season, the Express are 15-13 and just 3 games out of first place in the North Division.
The Express have won five of their last seven games, including a wild 18-14 victory over Front Royal on Monday. The Express trailed 14-4 during the fourth inning, and rallied for the win.
Strasburg has scored 35 runs in its last two games combined.
PITCHING WOES: Front Royal has lost three straight games and is now in fourth place in North Division.
The Cardinals continue to be one of the league’s best hitting teams. They are third in batting average, led by Dominic Canzone (Ohio State University). Canzone is batting .404, third in the VBL.
However, Front Royal’s pitching has been struggling. The Cardinals have allowed 29 runs in their last three contests, all losses.
The Cardinals have a team Earned Run Average of 4.75, which is ninth in the league. They have walked 158 batters, which is second-most in the league.
BACK AT THE TOP: Woodstock’s Danton Hyman is putting together another impressive season. Hyman, who finished second in the league last year in batting average, is currently fourth in the category this season.
Hyman is hitting .390 (41-for-105) with six doubles, 19 runs scored and 17 RBIs. He also has 14 stolen bases. Hyman (Newberry College) has also drawn 13 walks.
Woodstock head coach Will Thompson said recently that Hyman’s ability to get on base is a big spark for the team.
“I think the fact that he can bunt at any time in a count definitely opens up a lot of stuff for him,” Thompson said. “Third basemen usually play pretty close to the plate so he can just slap it by them if he does swing away. He’s got multiple ways to get on base, which is huge. Any way you can get on is great.”
Cash Gladfelter (Shippensburg University) is also having a strong offensive season. Gladfelter is batting .341 (29-for-85) with three doubles, one homer, 15 runs scored, 15 RBIs and 11 walks.