Valley Baseball League... Two Freshemen with the Winchester Royals
The Valley Baseball League is based in Staunton Virginia, and since it was formed in 1923, the league has established itself as a quality league for college baseball players looking to stay in shape, learn to switch hit, develop a new pitch, or to polish up some mechanics. There are currently 11 teams in the league that hold a playoff tournament in the last week of July and the first week of August. As the new season lifted off the ground and the leagues fans and supporters anxiously praised the arrival of a new summer, we here at DFN take great pleasure in noticing some exciting starts. By looking at the leagues standing 8 games into it, you would not think that the Winchester Royals would have anything interesting to brag about being 4-4. The team ranks 8th in the league in batting (.239) and 9 th in the leagues in pitching (4.44). So what do the Royals offer the country this early in ’10? It offers hope in the form of two freshmen that are building an incredible name for themselves so far. A middle infielder by the name of Cory Spangenberg is already burning up the league.
Eight games into the summer and after 34 at bats, Spangenberg is leading the Valley Baseball League in hitting with a batting average of .471 and with on base percentage of .514. Being on top of the statistical list is not new to him. He started this spring with the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) of the Big South, the same conference that was represented by Costal Carolina all into the NCAA Super Regional. In that season, Spangenberg led his team with a .370 batting average, and had some pop in his bat hitting 11 homeruns and driving in 49 runs. He played in all 55 games of the season and showed some speed by swiping 24 bases. Those numbers were good enough to make him one of the top 5 hitters of the Big South. Being that he’s only a freshman, it will be more than special to watch him grow during his stay in the Valley Baseball League this summer. Another Winchester Royal that is echoing punches into the catchers’ mitt is freshman pitcher Charles Steinman. After only 2 starts and 13.1 innings, Steinman is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.68. He’s not powering his way past hitters. With only 8 strike outs and opposing hitters batting .265 against him means that Steinman likes to play with fire on the mound. Still, the developmental stage for such a young pitcher requires experience.
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In the spring of this year, he played for the famous Georgetown Hoyas and sustained some wounds that should be viewed as valuable lessons. Steinman was given the chance to go 55.1 innings. He posted a 1-5 record with an ERA of 5.53, 31 walks, and 38 strike outs. The Winchester Royals may not have a winning record at this point, but the excellence all baseball teams search for is sprouting in their home of Richmond Virginia. The Royals have won 13 leagues championships and had a string of 5 consecutive championships that extended from 1979 through 1983. Let it be known that the Winchester Royals are no strangers to winning.
By Adrian Nevarez
DFN Sports Staff Writer