VBL Pitcher and Hitter of the Week Article –
ft. Jaden Anderson and Garrett Gainey
By: Lauren Fulton
Since the founding of the Valley Baseball League in 1897, college baseball players from
around the world have gathered within the Shenandoah Valley to do what they do best:
play baseball. Over the years, many incredible athletes have passed through the VBL,
and have been a part of some incredible historical moments. Playing college baseball
at any division isn’t easy – the struggles that come with playing this sport of “failure”
oftentimes outweigh the positives of the game. However, those who are determined to
push through the obstacles that stand in their way, prove time and time again just what
it takes to not only play at one of the highest levels imaginable but excel in what they
do. This week, we celebrate two players who have beat the odds set against them and
showed the VBL exactly the kind of competitors they are. So for the first time in the
2023 VBL summer season, the VBL pitcher of the week is being awarded to Garrett
Gainey of the Winchester Royals, and the VBL player of the week is awarded to Jaden
Anderson of the Front Royal Cardinals.
The Winchester Royals selected Garrett Gainey from Liberty University earlier this year
to join their team for the 2023 summer season. Gainey is a 6’1 LHP from Hartsville,
S.C., who just recently completed his junior season at Liberty University. He graduated from Liberty this past spring and will transfer to the University of South Carolina this fall. This past
week with the Royals, Gainey successfully earned his title as the Valley Baseball
League pitcher of the week due to his incredible performances. Gainey has pitched a
total of 13 innings and has allowed just 1 run to score. He also tallied a total of 13
strikeouts, and 1 walk during his time on the mound. Additionally, during his 13 innings
pitched, he has only given up 8 hits, all of which didn’t score due to his innate ability to
control his spin patterns and dominate hitters at the plate. Gainey is currently sitting at
a 0.69 ERA, through the 4 games played by the Royals, making him the most efficient
and successful pitcher on the Winchester staff thus far.
Our offensive player of the week was Jaden Anderson of the Front Royal Cardinals.
Anderson is currently a sophomore at Georgia State University, who has worked his
way into the starting lineup for the Cardinals, and currently has a .588 batting average,
going 10 for 17 out of his total at-bats thus far in the season. Anderson has hit 1
double, 3 home runs, scored 7 RBIs, and has successfully drawn 5 walks so far this
season. That means out of his 17 at-bats he has only not reached base a total of 2
times. For a sophomore, those statistics are pretty hard to beat, especially since the
VBL is known to attract some of the best competition in college baseball.
I heard a quote once before that’s stuck with me through the many phases of my time
as a Division 1 athlete – the quote says, “There are two definitions of the word ‘fear’.
The first is F.E.A.R.: Forget Everything and Run, and the second is F.E.A.R: Forget Everything and Rise.” This week, Gainey and Anderson chose to embrace the
challenges that come with playing summer college baseball and began to step into
their calling as athletes. Both of them play different positions on the field, and yet, their
adversity remained all the same. Both chose to “rise” to the challenge, and that’s why
they are both more than deserving of the VBL Player of the Week award(s).