Huntingdon Trio invited to play in Valley League | Schools
Three Huntingdon baseball players were recently selected to play in the Valley League next summer.
Catcher Joseph Odom and pitchers Grant Lowman and Gavin Free will play for the Winchester Royals in the summer of 2013.
“For all three of them to be invited, it definitely speaks volumes about the kind of players they are developing into,” Huntingdon baseball coach D.J. Conville said. “The Valley League has a long tradition of producing quality players. It’s one of the premiere summer leagues for prospects. It brings together some of the top talent in Division I, Division II and Division III.
“Playing against that competition can’t help but make you a better player and speed up your development. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to be seen and evaluated by pro scouts. If you can perform well in those conditions, it helps you to get your name out there.”
This will be the second straight year a Huntingdon player has competed in the 12-team wood-bat league. Coming off an All-Conference sophomore season in which he batted .325 with eight home runs, 44 RBIs and 38 runs, Odom represented the Hawks last season and turned heads with Winchester.
Odom led the Valley League in home runs (17) and slugging percentage (.706), was second with 15 doubles, third with 46 RBIs and 45 runs and fourth in hits with 69. The Vestavia Hills native represented Winchester in the Valley League All-Star Game and the All-Star Home Run Derby.
“I know the experience helped Odom,” Conville said. “He’s a great leader, a talented player and he has been an anchor for our program. Spending the summer in the Valley League helped him develop even more and it improved his projected draft status. The challenge for him is to continue to work as hard as he has and to keep improving.”
Conville hopes the experience will be equally rewarding for Lowman and Free.
“We have high expectations for both of them,” Conville said.
“Grant was coming off an injury and had a great freshman season. Now, he needs to continue to develop his consistency and build off of last year.
“We’re excited to have Gavin in our program. He’s a very athletic and talented player and he’s a tough player. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can bring to our program. We hope both of them work and develop this season and that their experience in the Valley League will only further their development.”
Lowman turned in a dominant freshman season, posting a 7-1 record, 2.14 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings pitched. In the process, he earned first-team All-South Region from the American Baseball Coaches Association and was named the Great South Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.
This will be Free’s first season with the Hawks. A native of Opp, Free was a pitcher and center fielder for LBW Community College before coming to Huntingdon. As a pitcher, he was 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 37 innings last season. He batted .294 with 26 runs, 11 RBIs and nine stolen bases.
The Valley League formed in 1923 and has been a wood-bat league since 1993. As a member of the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball, the league has produced more than 1,000 professional baseball players.
The league consists of 12 teams in three conferences. Each team plays a 44-game schedule from early June through the start of the playoffs in late July. The playoffs culminate with the league championship in early August.
The Royals were 36-16 last season, won the Northern Division and reached the championship series where they lost to Harrisonburg.
Source: Huntingdon College Sports Information Director