VBL All-Stars will play in Inter-League Showcase

The Valley Baseball League will put its reputation on the line this summer.

Commissioner Don Lemish said the VBL is scheduled to take a team of its all-stars to a showcase in Kannapolis, N.C., to compete against all-star teams from four other summer college leagues in July.

Lemish said this will mark the first time the VBL will face external competition.

The event will be held July 15-16 at Intimidators Stadium, the home of the Kannapolis Intimidators — the Single-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

"We want to go down there and prove that No. 1, the Valley League is stronger than any of those other leagues," Lemish said. "We will be taking our best, and selecting that isn't the easiest, so we will ask Major League Baseball scouts to assist us in that process."

The Florida League, the Sunbelt Baseball League, the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League and host Southern Collegiate Baseball League will also participate. Each league's all-star team will play two games, except for the Valley Baseball League and Southern Collegiate Baseball League, which will play three games each.

"We have been talking about this for quite some time that we really wanted to play an all-star game with another league, but finances were tight," Lemish said.

He said the Valley Baseball League had to raise around $5,000 to fund the trip. The team will leave for North Carolina by bus on the night of July 14 and will stay at the same hotel as the four other teams at the showcase.

"The other four leagues had started this thing and they wanted the Valley League in it, but I basically said we can't until we have the money," Lemish said. "That has come forward and we're excited about it. We think it's a great chance to showcase the Valley League. Hopefully, we'll live up to our reputation."

Lemish said the Valley League's all-star squad will consist of 12 to 13 position players and about 15 pitchers.

"They will be the best in our league," Lemish said. "And it's all being done for the benefit of Major League scouts."

Typically scouts visit each league's own all-star game, but Lemish said the single game doesn't always give a talent evaluator the best indication of a player.

Having the best of the best play against each other for at least three games provides scouts with a more accurate report.

Lemish added the VBL's coaching staff for the all-star showcase features Harrisonburg Turks manager Bob Wease, Staunton Braves manager George Laase, Purcellville Cannons manager Brett Fuller and former Strasburg Express manager Butch Barnes.

"Taking a group of college kids that aren't from your area necessarily, you want the most experienced people that you have that have responsibility for your league," Lemish added. "I think those four are able to do the job."

The VBL opened its season on June 2.

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