Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fauquier Gators are in the VBL Playoffs !

The Gators have won four straight games and when they defeated the Winchester Royals last night on the road they became the 3RD of 8 teams that are now qualified for the post season!
Congrats to the Gators and all of their fans!

1.Luray 25-10
2.Waynesboro 25-11
3.Fauquier 22-13

Getting Closer:
4.Winchester 20-16
4.Covington 20-16
6. Staunton 20-17

Hanging in there :
7. Harrisonbug 14-21
8.Haymarket 14-22

Still Hoping:
9.Woodstock 14-23
10.Front Royal 12-24
11.New Market 12-25

How does it work? The top 3 teams from the North join the top 3 teams from the South and then the two remaining teams with the next best records- regardless of division advance to play in the playoffs.

Keep an eye on Harrisonburg, Haymarket & Woodstock

The victory that the Turks picked up last night at Woodstock not only moved them 1 game ahead of the River Bandits but when Haymarket fell to Staunton it allowed Harrisonburg to go from 9TH to 7TH place. The three teams competing for the final two spots in the post season are now separated by just 1 game.

Harrisonburg -7
Haymarket -8
Woodstock -9

That makes tonight's game at Battlefield High School between the home standing Senators and the visiting Turks all that more important. Harrisonburg has won four of its last six games and with a win tonight Bob Wease and company would have some breathing room in the standings.

Front Royal (-12) and New Market (-13) remain alive but are running out of games to make up enough ground. The Rebels are off tonight and the Cardinals have a tough task as they host the VBL's top team in the Luray Wranglers. The Cards are hoping to duplicate their late season charge from one year ago when they came from near the bottom of the standings up to the #6 seed. Bob Brotherton's troops have won 2 straight heading into the game at the Bing.
Both Haymarket (3 straight) and Woodstock (4 straight) will try and end current losing streaks tonight. The Sens are at home and the River Bandits travel down to Gypsy Hill Park to play the Staunton Braves.
Another intriguing contest will take place at FHS when the Waynesboro Generals travel up to Warrenton to face the Gators. The Gators are currently sitting in the third spot in the league after winning 4 straight and 6 of 8. Waynesboro is just 1/2 game behind Luray for the race to capture the best regular season record.
Winchester and Covington will enter their game down at Casey Field in Covington with identical 20-16 records for the season.
Hope to see you at the park!

Switching Gears for just a Moment- How about 53 year old Greg Norman

There is always time to talk golf for a moment, right? The golfing world was very worried about playing the British Open without Tiger Woods but have you seen the story that is developing over there right now?
Greg "The Shark" Norman, if my memory serves me right the full nick name back in his hey day was "The Great White Shark" is two holes away from having the 54 hold lead of the Open.Playing at the age of 53 and still smiling from his honeymoon with tennis legend Chris Everett, Norman was a nice diversion on Thursday and Friday. The Shark and David Duval both playing so well gave the die hard golf fans something to think about other than No Tiger.
I felt Norman's pain way back in 1986 when he carried the 54 hole lead into all four majors but to only capture the British Open. For all of us middle aged golfers that will be watching on Sunday- could there be a better ending than Norman gets the dream girl and then gets to relive his golfing dream?
As I was typing and hoping he would indeed hold on to his narrow one stroke lead Greg just made birdie on #17 to double his lead heading into the days final hole! He made his par on #18 so he will head into Sunday with atwo stroke lead.

Good Morning to Day #50 of Around The Valley- Time to hit the road !

Big things are going to happen today- Saturday July 19TH, 2008.
Let us start with the two friends of the promotion that will cross the line of the ATV-60 loop
today in Warrenton when their Generals face the home town Gators. Mike (Generals Sign Guy) Kerr and his buddy Chuck Harris will become Waynesboro fans 3 & 4 to complete the trek. Mike
has been a big part of us being able to share as much info as possible across the Valley and I am looking forward to adding both Mike & Chuck to the ATV-60 Wall of Fame tomorrow night.
The duo from Kate Collins Field won't be the only ones to collect their final passport stamp tomorrow as the family of Jeff and Diane Buckley head north to Front Royal for the Wranglers- Cardinals contest. The Buckley's and their two daughters have been Around The Valley and then some with Diane's job of Wranglers General Manager but they missed out on the teams first trip up to the Bing. We mentioned Jeff and his being there every step of the way for Diane but we should tip the cap to the group of them for supporting both the VBL and the ATV-60 by taking the time to collect their stamps. Madison and Morgan have ridden in the car to the likes of Covington, Waynesboro and Haymarket- not always the fun thing to do during the summer time when young ones have numerous options of things to do in the neighborhood.
I will be trying to complete the task of getting the remaining ball parks some copies of the New Dominion magazine that was released this week by Chris & Crystal Graham down in Augusta County. One of my stops will be in Haymarket which will allow me to finish my second complete loop of the VBL parks. I didn't realize that I had not been to Haymarket but one time so I am happy to put at least the number two up by each ball park.
There will be stops in Fauquier and Front Royal for sure and who knows what will happen past that as we celebrate Day #50 of #60 AROUND THE VALLEY !

Friday, July 18, 2008

Playoffs start to take shape after Night 49 Around The Valley

NEW MARKET.....000...030...010-4/6/3
Time: 2:47

Once again the Battle for the Mountain lived up to its hype( good thing because I am one of the ones that does the hyping) as the Luray Wranglers hung on to a 5-4 lead late in the game to clinch the season series 3 games to 1.
All three of the Wranglers wins in the series came by 1 run and came with a fair amount of drama down the stretch. The first win at Bulldog Field came in the 11TH inning and the game Friday night appeared to be heading down a similar path. Jeff Jefferson (Liberty U.) hit a two run home run off of the scoreboard to put the Wranglers up 2-0 behind the pitching of Alex Koronis (Miamai).
The Wranglers added two more runs to the lead to make it 4-0 until Brandon Kirsch (NW Missouri State) connected for a 3-run homer to pull the Rebels to within 4-3 in the fifth inning.
The two bullpens took over at that point to limit each team to just 1 more run over the final four innings. Koronis finished the night with 5.2 innings, 3 earned runs and 8 strike outs to earn the victory for the home team.
New Market pulled to within 5-4 in the top of the eighth and had the tying runner on third base but could not score the equalizer. The game was full of outstanding defensive plays on both sides including the Rebels nailing pinch runner Josh Wright trying to steal home on the back half of a double steal.
The relievers that held the Wranglers to just 1 run from the third inning until the end of the game included Robert Seymour (Penn), Mike Hanley (Keystone) and Daniel Gentzler (Maryland). The Wrangler hurlers that followed Koronis to the hill included Matt Boylan (Brown), Jordan Yost (WVU), Alex Wiesner (Wake Forrest) and Kyle Cichy (Va. Tech).
A great battle in front of a great crowd on both sides of the diamond, sounds a little like what I was talking about roughly 6-8 hours ago.

Notes and Thoughts- It was great to see Mr. Tony Mowat make the trek across the mountain with the Rebels. Also enjoyed looking up and seeing four ATV-60 Loopsters in Charlie Dodge and Melissa Dodge sitting with Buck and Jacob Smith on the 3RD base side.
We had another strong night of corralling scores from Around the Valley with help from Teresa Wease (Harrisonburg @ Woodstock), Bruce Alger (shared the Winchester update), Generals Sign Guy Mike (Covington @ Waynsboro) and Buck found help with Staunton @ Haymarket.
I will try to do my best to keep the scores flowing the best I can over the final week of the regular season. What were those scores you ask?

The two teams entered the night tied for the eighth and final playoff spot and now the Turks have a one game lead over the River Bandits. Eric Thomas (B-Cookman) leveled his record for the season to 2-2 and Harrisonburg upped its mark to 14-21. Harrisonburg led 5-2 after six innings and managed to break the game open with 3 late runs.

This game stayed close through out and with the victory Waynesboro (25-11) pulls out to a 5 game lead over the second place Lumberjacks (20-16). Both teams have 8 games remaining, including games the day after the scheduled end of the regular season. Waynesboro jumped out to a 3-1 lead after four and the pen did the job for skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt. The win also keeps the Generals within 1/2 game of Luray in the race for best record overall.

This score was given to us by Bruce Alger earlier and now with a quick visit to the Winchester web page I can tell you how it developed. The Gators scored four UN-earned runs in the third inning to jump out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. The victory pushes Fauquier to a lead of 2&1/2 games over Winchester for the number two spot in the North behind Luray.

The fifth and final game of the night had Staunton traveling to Haymarket. The last update we had showed the Braves leading big in the ninth inning- if I come up with a final before heading out I will update this for all of you. Staunton won in a slugfest by a final score of 14-11. Thanks to Kevin back at the VBL office

Now that is 12:36 AM- We can start talking about Day 50 of Around The Valley in 60 Days!

EVERY FIFTH DAY- Greg Maddux was pitching for the Padres at St.Louis and I was trying my best to follow the SD-STL game while working the PA for the Rebels-Wranglers contest. I received help from Mike Zucconi who has been filling in for Seth while Seth was out in San Diego.
Maddux was given very rare run support tonight and actually had a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning until after two were out my guy gave up back to back base hits and then a 3 Run HR to Ludwick. The score was then tied 6-6 and Maddux didn't come back out for the 5TH inning.
The team saved me some later frustration by taking a 7-6 lead and then blowing a win for some other pitcher. I think Greg would tell tell you he had a BLOWN win but we will try it again in 5 days.

Harrisonburg @ Woodstock also on Tap for Night #49

Another big game for the teams taking the field happens tonight up at Central High School in Woodstock. The Harrisonburg Turks and the host Woodstock River Bandits are currently tied for the 8TH and final playoff spot. The Turks still have 10 games remaining due to a pair of rained out games left to make up (both at home) while Woodstock has just 8 games remaining.
The winner of tonight's 7:30 PM contest will have a leg up in the battle for the remaining playoff spot.

Tonight also has the North's #2 Fauquier traveling to Winchester to face the team just below them in the standings. The Gators have a 1 & 1/2 game lead over the Royals so once again the winner of this contest will see immediate dividends. A Fauquier win and they will have a 2 & 1/2 game lead but if the Royals are victorious they will pull to within 1/2 game of second place!

Has it really been 7 weeks already ? Day 49 of Around The Valley

It's time again for the next round of the Battle of/for the Mountain. New Market will cross the Gap tonight and come over to Bulldog Field to play the Luray Wranglers in game #4 of the series.
Luray won games one and two by 1 run with one victory coming at each park before New Market answered with a convincing victory in Game #3 back at Rebel Park. That defeat back on July 1ST seemed to awaken the sleeping Bear inside the Wranglers. Luray has captured 8 of 10 games since then if you include their exhibition tilt against the Vienna Senators.
Just as impressive as the win totals has been the runs put on the board by Skipper Mike Bocock's nine.14-16-11-16-6-7-2-5-12-19 (108 or an average of 10.8 runs per game).
The New Market Rebels come into the contest tonight fresh off a 6-2 home victory over Haymarket last night. The victory over the Senators gives the Rebels a 3-3 record over their past six games and pulled the team to within just 2 games of the eighth and final playoff spot for the 2008 season.
Bigger game than normal? You bet- and here is why:
1. Luray wins and they win the series 3-1 for the season.
2.New Market wins and the teams split the season series at 2-2
3. Luray and Waynesboro are locked in a tight battle for the #1 seed (Luray up 1/2 game)
4. New Market is down to just 8 regular season games and they need to keep winning if they hope to advance to the post season.
5. It's not Bruce vs. Bill or Skipper Nolan vs. Skipper Mike or even the Rebels vs. Wranglers in this one but I think it is the town of NEW MARKET VS. the town of LURAY!
But when the game is all over everything will just go back to normal,right?
The place should be packed with plenty of supporters lining both base lines as it is Friday night and two local teams will be playing the greatest game ever created right here at Bulldog Field. My only problem will be trying to follow Greg Maddux as he makes a rare start in a Central Time Zone park (8:15 PM in STL) while trying to entertain the folks at the ball yard. The battle will begin here in just 6 hours...

One more chance to visit with A DBU Patriot !

Above- Chris at the plate/ Below- Chris with the Bogel family
Our paths crossed with a Dallas Baptist University Patriot for the 1ST time late last summer when left handed reliever Wayne Dowling came to Luray to pitch for the Wranglers and was in need of a place to stay. We spent the remainder of the season hosting Wayne and as it turns out it was just the beginning for the Carter family and DBU!
I made a trip out to Lubbock, Texas to watch Wayne pitch at the end of his senior season. The Patriots were playing a twin bill against the Red Raiders and I met a few remarkable people that day. The list included Lacey Dowling, Clay Kelly and his aunt and uncle, Chris Haney and Josh Wilson. I was also able to visit that day with Wayne and another former Wrangler Drew Pirtle.
We fast forward to the start of the 2008 VBL season and the DBU players are busy as they earned their first ever NCAA Tourney Birth! Clay Kelly (We miss him) was on his way to stay the summer with us but that would have to wait until their NCAA run was over. Clay and his Dad, Pat Kelly finally arrived June 7TH and were just a couple of days behind Haney and Wilson.
For very different reasons, all of the four DBU players that came to Luray for the summer have since left the Valley but not without leaving an impression on the Carter family. Clay had to return to Texas for the start of Summer Classes and when he left we thought we had seen the last of the ball players.
That changed this week when the Clark Griffith league's Vienna Senators came to town to play a twin bill against both Waynesboro and Luray. When we were working on the game day programs we noticed that Chris Haney was on the roster of the Senators. Chris was the catcher for Vienna in game #1 against the Generals and it was enjoyable to get another chance to watch this young man play the game he loves!
We caught up with Chris after the night cap and took a photo of him with his host family during the time he was with the Wranglers in 2008. Ron and Sharon Bogel and their son Tanner are seen above with Chris right after the conclusion of game #2.
Saturday July 5TH was the day that Clay had to pull out and head back to campus. While we miss him being at the house I did notice he should of made it back for a very special ceremony that honored the team for their 2008 success. If you head over to you will find a story about the "Patriots honored by the City of Frisco".
Chris- it was great to visit with you one more time and we wish you continued success down the road with the Senators and again next year @ DBU.

Update on the 6 remaining playoff spots..Day #48

Luray and Waynesboro are in the playoffs and figure to be the top two seeds and then it becomes a little more interesting. The next group of teams are battling for spots 3 thru 6. Lets take a quick look at those four teams:

Team.................. Over/Under .500..................... Games Left

Fauquier Gators............+8............................................ 8
Covington.......................+5............................................ 9
Winchester.....................+5............................................ 9
Staunton.........................+2............................................ 8

That was a huge win for the Gators tonight against Covington. It gives Fauquier a 1&1/2 game lead for the third spot in the playoffs.

The final five teams are chasing the final two spots in the playoffs:
Haymarket (-7), Woodstock and Harrisonburg (-8), Front Royal and New Market (-12)

The Rebels and Cardinals are both down to just 8 games left on their schedule as is Woodstock where Haymarket has 9 and Harrisonburg has 10.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Here is on VBL glitch we might could fix and easy !

There are a number of things that would make the VBL even a better league than it already is. Some are pie in the sky, some are attainable with a little help from a few folks.
The one I want to address is the sharing of out of town scores over both the PA and over the web cast. This has slipped over the past year or two as not all parks have land lines in their press box and to some teams the other scores are just as important to them. Last night / tonight(?) at Luray we were able to share 4 of the final 5 scores before we left the park and we had a partial score on the final one. So how did we do it and did anyone notice?
Yes people noticed and here is how we did it:

Winchester 5- Waynesboro 2 @ Kate Collins-These updates were coming by text on my cell phone from Generals Sign Mike. Mike is following his Generals every night either by web cast, radio or at the ball park. Benji sent some text updates as well.

Fauquier 8- Covington 7 @ FHS- Buck gets the credit for the final score on this one. He was keeping in contact with someone on his phone throughout the night. The folks over at New Market gave us an early 7-2 score and then the remainder of the scores came from Buck.

Luray 19- Staunton 5 @ Bulldog Field-We were at this game but if we hadn't been then Braves GM Steve Cox has been known to pitch in with an update from time to time.

New Market 6 - Haymarket 2 @ Rebel Park- Bruce and his team does have a land line in the press box and when we are both at home we are solid at exchanging scores throughout the night. They also have the Internet so they can scan the different games around the league and that is how we knew about the 7-2 early lead and that Front Royal had an early 1-0 lead vs. Woodstock.

I really think this is one that we can get our arms around with minimal cost or effort. It's not like I am saying that we should build an out of town scoreboard at each park.....Hey, there is an idea....yeah, that's the ticket! Or how about- I can get by with a little help from my friends (Around the VBL)...

If you have an opinion on this topic I would love for you to share it with us here at ATV-60.

When the cell phone rang at 7:52 PM and I saw it was from Bruce Alger...

I knew when the vibrate on my cell phone went off at 7:52 PM that Bruce was calling with great news. How did I know? When we are both doing PA work at our respective parks, there is little time to take our eye off of the game. The great news from Bruce- We just had another fan make it to the finish line with their passport!
Mrs. Kay Helsey is a host Mom for the New Market Rebels and she just returned to Rebel Park where the New Market nine were playing the Haymarket Senators. The call was a short one but a great one none the less as Kay will be the fifth person to toss out a 1ST pitch over in New Market. The Rebels are down to 3 home games left pending a late season playoff run so we will be looking forward to being there to greet Kay at her ceremony!
Congrats to the newest ATV-60 loopster!

Wranglers defeat Staunton Braves 19-5/ 2ND VBL Team to clinch Post season spot!

Luray (24-10) continued its trend from the entire 2008 season of combining excellent starting pitching with some explosive offense. The Wranglers reached double figures for the 10TH time this season to turn back the visiting Staunton Braves by a final score of 19-5 in VBL action Thursday night at Bulldog Field.

Staunton...000...000...032... 5-11-2
Luray........025...020...46X... 19-19-1

Luray starter Drew Rucinski (Ohio State) pitched six strong innings of three hit baseball and left with a 9-0 lead. Rucinski walked two batters while striking out 10 during his outing and faced just 21 batters, only three over the six inning minimum. While the Buckeye's night ended after six innings his team was just getting started. Jeff Jefferson (Liberty) and Chris Rey (South Florida) hit Grand Slams in the 7TH and 8TH innings respectively.
Give credit to the Braves (19-17) for keeping at it despite trailing 13-0 heading into the top of the eighth inning. Staunton scratched out 5 runs over the final two frames against the Luray relievers. Luray now joins Waynesboro (24-11) as VBL teams that are assured of making the 2008 post season! Congrats Wranglers!

ATV-60 Pic on its way to The Daily Review in Morgan City, La.

I just finished reading another great 1 on 1 written by John Leonard from his recent sit down with Woodstock's Gary Kahn. Two people visiting together that have both managed to combine athletics and academics! Head over to ATVL for a chance to read the story.

Right at the end of the story I received a neat phone call concerning the Sports Editor (Jon Martin) of the hometown paper of New Market's David Burch. Burch (U of New Orleans) is listed as being from Berwick, La and Jon's newspaper is from Morgan City. Mr. Martin was interested in running one of my/our pictures from the All-Star game down in Covington.

The actual photo in question was taken in the lobby of the McDonald's there in Covington as we were waiting to order a late dinner before making the trip back to New Market. David and his father were in line next to Bruce Alger with me standing behind the three of them when the light bulb came on- here is a great shot for a Rebel family photo!

I talk about the main purpose of the actual promotion but I haven't talked nearly as much about the blog that goes with it. The format is very simple- a place to trade VBL stories and share VBL photo's and it is a two way avenue/street. We welcome all those interested to send in their stories and/or photos that would like to share. This is not my sight or my take on the VBL- it is a common site that's sole purpose it to makes someones day!

I asked Jon to let us know when he runs the photo so we can link to it from this end. You can check things out down in Morgan City by clicking on . We will let you know when the photo runs as well. Thanks so much for the Rebel fan that started the pics in the direction of Morgan City.

The feeling is kinda like a message in a bottle coming a shore after you released it 1,000 miles away. As always everything we post on our site is available FREE OF CHARGE- and we always like talking with the folks that want to share in it.

Night 47- Takes us back to the Bing to say thanks to Linda Keen!

Our 7TH trip up to the stadium that is the "Bing" gave us an opportunity to tip the ATV-60 Cap to another supporter that completed the Around The Valley Loop.

Mrs. Linda Keen managed to sneak across the finish line ahead of the remainder of the VBL Board to join New Market's Bruce Alger as the two team/league reps to complete their ATV-60 passports. I had the pleasure of visiting with Linda for the first half of the game and our conversation was insightful as always. One of the hot topics of conversation throughout the season has been how many officials from both the teams and the VBL would be collecting the stamps along with the fans.

[Editors note- Mrs. Betty Phillips (Jim's wife) falls somewhere between the two categories]. Betty is both a Winchester fan and has ties to the team as Mrs. GM...

My answer to this was very simple- Our friend Bruce Alger didn't manage to keep his passport in tact and get it stamped at 11 different parks so he could be applauded- he did it to show me and my family that he was supporting our efforts to shine a spotlight on our wonderful league.
I would agree that the players and the coaches are required to attend every game over the 60 days but once there is not a uniform involved....

I smiled when Winchester's principal owner was in line the other night at New Market to collect his next stamp. I am sure that Jim Shipp is not after me to buy him a jacket but he is simply showing his support of the promotion and for this he gets my utmost respect.

Jeff Buckley is another quiet hero on the trail of the ATV-60 I need to mention as well. Jeff is married to Wranglers GM Diane Buckley and Diane will be attending the Wranglers game at the Bing Saturday night. This will be her final stop on the way and it dawned on me that every place I ran across Diane at a game, Jeff was nearby with their girls. Again- a salute to some more "official" people who have been Card Carrying Members of ATV-60's attempt to promote the VBL.

Linda Keen gets bonus points for one more reason. She is married to a gentleman that shares the same profession as myself. Anyone who has delivered papers at some point of their life (Bob Keen and I have our entire adult lives) understands that it takes its toll on any relationship with spouses and children alike- so Linda- this Root Beer is for you!

Rebecca and I both took a number of pics and she is upstairs working on them now. I know they will be up soon as will a gamer from Mike down in Waynesboro.

The NVD's Tim Tassa was at the game with Ace camera man Dennis by his side so if you are local you should pick up a copy of the Northern Virginia Daily tomorrow, if you can't, you can check out this young mans work at in a few hours.

The game allowed me to spend time with Mr. & Mrs. Greg Brill while Greg was doing the Web Cast (pics to follow) as well as newest ATV-60 members Charlie, Melissa and Noah Dodge. I was able to greet Mrs. Alger when I wasn't trying to solve the mysteries of the universe with her husband Bruce. Melissa introduced me to Mr. Mooney who was there to watch his son Michael play for the Rebels. The younger Mooney has spent this summer with the Dodge family and I know Melissa has pics to share.

Front Row Fred was there as were a number of dedicated Rebels fans. I was able to say hello to Katie and find out her friend from the photo the other night was Allison. The always smiling group from the Cards concession stand posed for some shots and there should be one neat one of the little model of "The Bing" that is sold at the stadium.

The New Dominion Magazine released yesterday was loaded in to the car and copies were given to both Donna Settle and Bruce Alger. Luray and Staunton received some yesterday so I am 4/11 of the way thru getting them to all 11 VBL parks.

Back at Bulldog Field for another night of working the PA for the Braves- Wranglers tilt and then night #49 will be more of the same as we continue the battle of the mountain series vs. New Market. Time to go to work- the pics from tonight should be up before long!

Another "General" Update from GeneralsSignGuyMike

Extra, Extra Read all about it! Generals win again in extra innings!
Written by: GeneralsSignGuyMike (Michael Kerr)

I am going to give u as accurate report as I can get from not being at the Waynesboro Generals vs Staunton Braves game from John Moxie Stadium.

The Generals pulled off another extra inning victory in the 10th inning winning 8-5 vs Staunton. They are 4-0 in extra innings this year, was 2-0 last year both in extra innings and that I know of have lost an extra inning game possibly since 2005 since I have kept records of the Generals.

Adam Liberatore got a no decision tonight he was 5-0 coming into tonight and had the lowest E.R.A in the league. The E.R.A will go up a little due to him giving up 4 runs I think, (maybe 3). The Staunton Braves scored in the 1st, then the Generals tied it at 1 in the 3rd. Then in the 5th Staunton put 3 more on the board to take a 4-1 lead. The Generals finally started to get more hits and scoring runs on a great start from the Braves starting pitcher Adam Hoyt. Waynesboro then scored another run to take the lead in the 8th at 5-4. Daniel Wiltz came in to save the game in the 9th but blown the save when the Braves scored to tie the game. Staunton did have bases loaded but Wiltz struck out the final batter to take it to extra innings.

The Generals love the extra innings after winning yesterday vs Vienna. With I think 2 outs in the top of the 10th with bases loaded Brandon Sizemore came in to pitch hit and he made great contact on a ball that went deep which i thought was a grand slam when I was on the phone with Generals Superfan Chuck Harris the way the fans were going wild, but Sizemore had a 3 run double and I did hear that was a great celebration after that hit which I wish I was there for. The Generals shut down the Braves in the bottom of the 10th to win the game. Every single Generals fan can tell you that Brandon Sizemore is like a superhero to us and if u have been there for home games verus us or have seen the Generals on the road then each fan on the opposite can probably tell. Even with 2 bad heels he is giving over 100% and each General fan thanks him for that.

The Generals (24-10) have also clinched a playoff berth due to Winchester defeating Harrisonburg tonight. The Winchester Royals (19-15) will be coming to town to face the red-hot Generals who have won 3 in a row. Staunton (19-16) will be at Luray (23-10) Thursday and the Wranglers are looking at becoming the 2nd team to clinch a playoff berth here within days.

From what I see I know 6 teams will be a shoe-in for the playoffs as of now (Waynesboro, Luray, Fauquier, Covington, Winchester, Staunton). There is a dog-fight with the last 2 playoff spots with Haymarket and Woodstock hold the spot now both will still 14 wins each but Harrisonburg has 13 wins and New Market and Front Royal have 11 wins each. With 12 days to go its anybody's guess what's going to happen.

The Battle of the Virginia Summer Baseball Leagues Round 1
Written by: GeneralsSignGuyMike (Michael Kerr)

The Battle of the Virginia summer leagues top teams was worth the price of admission and then some. In the first game it was the Vienna Senators (28-5) facing the Waynesboro Generals (23-10). The Waynesboro Generals won in exciting fashion in the 10th inning when Derek Hamblen who came in to substitute for Ryan Danbury in RF had the game winning RBI when Austin Morgan who lead off the inning got on reaching on a error. Greg Meleski sacrified pinch runner Michael Parker to 2nd, then Chris Enourato struck out right before Hamblen got the winning run.

Both teams starting pitchers did a great job. Daniel Bradsaw from the Waynesboro Generals went 7 innings, giving up 0 runs, 5 hits, 4 K's and no walks. While the Senators starter Ryan Wooley went 5 innings, giving up 0 runs, 4 hits, striking out 5 and no walks. The next set of pitchers for both teams followed from what the starters done with the Generals pitcher Brad Grove going 2 innings, with 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 K, and no walks. Senators next reliever who got the loss Eric Cantrell went 4 1/3 innings, giving up 1 run, 0 hits, 5 K's and 1 walk, Jimmy Duggan came in and gave up the game winning hit and he did strike out one batter.

Jake Cowan got the win after pitching the 10th inning. He did give up 1 hit and struck out 1. Austin Morgan was the big hitter for the day going 3-4 with 2 hits (both singles) and reaching on a error. Gabriel Saade and Grant Buckner both had 1 hit each for the Generals.

An amazing game it was between Waynesboro and Vienna and would love to see the Valley League do this every year. The Generals will get back to regular season play on Wednesday when they face a red hot Staunton Braves (19-15). Waynesboro has a 4 game lead on Covington (19-14) and a 4 1/2 game lead on the Braves going into tommorrow.


Chris and Crystal Graham's ATV-60 & ATVL Feature in The New Dominion Magazine!

It dawned on me as I was trying to devise a plan to get copies of the magazine to each of the 11 parks I was forgetting about all the folks that read our writing and look at our pictures but don't live in Virginia! The link to the page where you can read about both our adventure (Around The Valley in 60 Days) and John Leonard's site (All Things Valley League) is .

Thank Chris for the words and Crystal for the design and we THANK them both for not just the story but all the help they have provided during our journey!

For those of you that take the time to read the story there are only two notes I need to make :

1. My daughter Sabrena- her name is spelled with an E not an I. No trouble there Chris- people tell me all the time that the rest of the world spells it right and that I goofed up.

2.The line that says- I can't ask people to drive to Covington or Haymarket.

This line should say I can't ask people FROM Covington or Haymarket to try and pull this off. The tough task that the good folks down in Covington face is every road game is a road trip. The distance that they would have to commute 10 times would be too, too much. The situation for the Senators fans in Haymarket is close to being as difficult.

My hopes were that a fan in Harrisonburg,Woodstock, New Market, Staunton and Waynesboro would jet out a make the loop with only a couple of mid range drives in the mix. Folks in Luray, Front Royal and Winchester would face a tougher climb and then the people in Fauquier, Haymarket and Covington would have an incredibly difficult time completing the circuit.

I went as far as telling Dizzy (L-Jacks owner) that if one of his fans made the loop the should be named Mayor of Covington for the day! The thing I needed from the three outer parks was simple- a smiling face that had a stamp in their hand- saying welcome to Covington, Haymarket or Fauquier. All three of the teams did just that and there is a group or two in Haymarket that is flirting with finishing the loop.

Pictures from the 11 Parks

I made this to honor our 11-day trek through the Valley Baseball League. I hope you all enjoy looking at it. No worries, the stars jumping on your screen are only for effect...

New Market at Front Royal in Photos

Dropping off the magazines from The New Dominion
The Bing- and all of its beauty
Bob and Nolan meet with the umpires
Eager fans waiting the 1ST pitch
Nice Bunt!
UNC-Pembroke's Kevin Dietrich pulling into 3RD base
Action photo
Game Shot
Trying to capture the angle of the park
Bennet Davis getting ready to hit
Rebels meeting at the mound
Congrats on the Cards side
Great camera work by Rebecca
Steve Owens on the Hill
Mr. & Mrs.(Lynne) Bruce Alger and Mrs. Linda Keen
More Rebels supporters
Front Row Fred in the middle of the action
He likes the Dodgers- She likes the Padres-I like them both!
A large number of Rebels fans made the trip
They were everywhere you looked
Mr. Pete Mooney and a buffed Master Alger
Completed Loopsters- Noah & Melissa Dodge
Mr. & Mrs. Greg Brill in the web cast booth (Cathy)
Linda and her husband Bob visit with a friend
Another friend of the Keens- wearing a birthday present the Keen's brought back from the All Star Game in Covington
Working hard at the grill but he took the time to point out other hard working folks
Smiles all around!
Mini version of the Bing- On Sale for $20.00
(From Rebecca) I only added this picture because it seems very "Stop in the name of love."

More young baseball fans!
The Bing Scoreboard
Cards Tucker Pryor in action
Comparing notes with Blue
Where are they loking at here ?
(From Rebecca) No matter how many times I go to Front Royal, I always forget to bring my seat. After a while of sitting on top of the dugout, your back starts to ache and you just need to lay down. That's how pictures like this are born.

Nice shot
A different look from the dug out
Charlie Dodge and Mr.Pete Mooney talking baseball

Post game hand shake
Me heading out in hopes of getting a pic with Father & Son
Skipper Bob Brotherton and his son/ assistant J.B

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Breaking News from Around the Valley- Generals are in the VBL Playoffs/ Wranglers magic number down to 1!

Following the action around the VBL tonight with a little help from Generals Sign Guy Mike we are now able to report that the Waynesboro Generals have clinched the 1ST playoff birth of the eight that are awarded.
Waynesboro (24-10) rallied from down 4-1 to the red hot Staunton Braves to take a 5-4 lead only to have the Braves tie it up in the bottom of the ninth. Pinch hitter Brandon Sizemore hit a 3-run double in the top of the 10TH inning to give the visitors an 8-5 victory.
When word came out of Memorial Stadium that the visiting Winchester Royals had defeated the Turks by a score of 4-0, they were dancing in the streets down at Kate Collins. Okay- dancing in the streets might be a reach but I am sure Waynesboro skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt had told his team- you can't defend the title if you don't make the playoffs.

Congrats to Jim Critzer, Lawrence and his staff and all of the gang that supports the Generals !

Luray was idle tonight but the Wranglers magic number for making the post season is now down to one.

John L. is back at it- Check out the great 1 on 1 with NM's Riley Cooper

If Rebecca was awake she would plug in a fancy way to have you click over to All Things Valley League but I am on my own right now so- I just finished John's 1 on 1 with Florida Gator Riley Cooper and you will enjoy the read..Head over to for the interview. Another solid effort!

Final thoughts as Day 46 rolls into Day 47- 1ST VBL Playoff birth on the line Wednesday night

Good Night or to some Good Morning!- One more look at my notes as Day 46 and Day 47 collide.

Waynesboro (23-10) travels to cross county rival Staunton on Wednesday and with a Generals victory coupled with a Winchester win at Harrisonburg, Waynesboro would clinch the 1ST VBL playoff birth. Waynesboro and Luray (23-10) both have reduced their magic number down to two but the Wranglers have Wednesday night off so skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt and his team can reach the post season tonight with a little help from the Royals.

ATV-60 will be traveling up to the Bing tonight to celebrate our newest addition to the ATV-60 Wall of Fame- Mrs. Linda Keen. Linda has completed her Passport to become the 15TH person to make the entire VBL Loop. I have to believe "The Commish" has been to all of the parks but we will need to check his passport. Bruce Alger and his New Market Rebels will be facing off with the Cards after the ceremony.

Andrew Struckmeyer travels with the Vienna Senators and yesterday he was oh so gracious in helping me out with each and every one of the Sens players name. That can be hard to do when they played baseball for over 6 hours. Thanks Andrew!

I wanted to clear up one comment that came up earlier today when I was able to visit with Mike at the house. We were talking about how I ended up traveling to at least one VBL park each and every night for what is now 46 days. He mentioned his thoughts on the streak being broken by the fact that there was no game played at either park I attended back on Sunday night. The rains postponed both the New Market game that I was scheduled to do the web cast for and then roughly 2 hours later, the Turks game was pushed back as well.
I went on to note that happened for the second time this season but that I was not counting how many official games I had been to- my mission statement for the 2008 VBL season was this:

If one of the 11 owners had their lights on and were open for business with people at the park, then I would take my camera and note pad out to the car and drive there to see if I could help the greater cause of the VBL. The trip to Harrisonburg turned out better than I could of hoped for because it gave me the opportunity to visit with thirty or forty dedicated Turks fans, meet Andy Chalot of the Lumberjacks, take 50 more pics and then the next day receive a wonderful e-mail from Mrs. Turks (Teresa).
I try and leave the official stats and official game info to the serious baseball folks to worry with while I simply try and count how many wonderful stories I can run across and how many people I can try and make smile!

That brought me to try and figure how many times I had been to each park during business hours on game day.. Here is what I know:53 Park visits over 46 days

Luray Wranglers- 14 Times---------------------2 ceremonies/ 3 people
New Market Rebels- 10 Times (2 Rain Outs)------2 ceremonies/ 2people
Front Royal Cards- 6 Times---------------------1 ceremony/ 2 people
Woodstock River Bandits- 4 Times
Harrisonburg Turks- 4 Times (2 Rain Outs)
Staunton Braves- 3 Times---------------------1 ceremony/ 2 people
Waynesboro Generals- 3 Times---------------------1 ceremony/ 2 people
Covington Lumberjacks- 3 Times
Winchester Royals- 3 Times
Fauquier Gators- 2 Times
Haymarket Senators- 1 Time---- Have run into Bernie & Co. many times on the road (5) but not so much at home.

The next few days will include:
Wednesday 7/16 Ceremony #2 at The Bing (New Market @ Front Royal)
Thursday 7/17 Home Game at Luray vs. Staunton
Friday 7/18 Home Game at Luray vs. New Market

Future ceremony dates planned:
7/22 @ Waynesboro (Mike & Chuck)
7/23 @ New Market (Melissa & Noah)
7/26 @ Harrisonburg (Group of Turks) !

Day #46- Photos and a thanks to the Sens Andrew Struckmeyer for a days worth of help

Early game action
A packed house in the Bulldog Field Press Box
Waynesboro's Greg Meleski at the dish
Welcome to the VBL ! Rapids owner Jim Crothers
Jim and Missy Miller take in part of the game
The Commish is the man in the Middle up in the stands
A little fun with the post game 1 handshakes
Exit Generals / Enter Wranglers
Generals rally around Owner Jim Critzer and Skipper Lawrence Nesselrodt. Skip allowed me to stick my head in long enough to say congrats on both the W and the class they displayed in representing our beloved VBL.
Bill Turner (L) is always quick to tell me that Jim Critzer is the man that deserves the credit for both the Wranglers and Bill being involved with the VBL !
The Generals line up for the post game meal
Todd Thompson catches up with Dave Biery VBL President or as I like to call Mr.Biery, "The Commish".
Some of the many supporters of the Generals that made the drive up for the game
Bill Turner joins the group of Jeff Jefferson supporters. I would be there in that group too but someone had to take the picture!
John Leonard and Mr.Bob Keen meet at last!
Dave and Todd join Bill in a discussion. The identity of the fourth in the pic will remain anonymous for now pending a SPECIAL project!
That Austin Markel just cost Flotzie's another Banana Split!
As the phrase I coined two summers ago about the Wranglers- Have Bats- Will Hit!
How many Banana Splits are we going to have to give away tonight?
Trying to capture some of the great crowd!
SRO on the 1ST base side- Page News and Courier's Bill Meade chating with Mr.Painter in the fore front
More shots of the crowd
What's up with all of the balls leaving the park?
I believe this one was CJ or was it AJ or was it JJ or was it......
The Senators finally connect for a 3 Run Blast
Lotsa and lots of folks at the ball park!
A view into the Sens dug out
Early leader in the running for the ATV-60 Greg Maddux Award- Wrangler lefty Travis Smink (VMI)
Smink at work and a shot at the COOL VBL logo the Wranglers added to the field
The scoreboard before JJ went yard 1 more time!
A very nervous young lady watches Travis pitch. I believe Juliana is kinda sweet on our Keydet but then again so are we here at ATV-60. Don't know what is cooler, his work on the mound or his sunny disposition?
Skipper and the umpire chat for a moment
More shots of the great crowd
Getting ready for post game meal #2
More shots of the crowd
Protecting our town and we love them for the effort!
Can we possibly be celebrating another HR?
Our friend from ATV claims one of the Banana Splits awarded for the final Wrangler HR!
One more game shot
Post game hand shakes all around
The two teams meet and greet after a long day at the ball yard
The VBL held its own on a pretty big stage
Skipper Mike huddles with his Wranglers
The dedicated workers preping for the Senators meal
Great food at the end of a long day of ball
How did I manage to miss out on another chance to have my picture taken with Mr. Kieth Jefferson and fellow family friends. Neat bunch following a neat youngin.
Final thoughts from the Skipper before Mike and Bill head out for a quick road trip!
Biggest smile I have EVER captured on this beatiful young lady. Makes me wonder what she is up to?
Time to head home from Wranglerville- Will the last person out please turn out the lights?
Please head over to All Things Valley League to read John's great recap of the two contests!