Cannons readying for June 5 opener
Opening night for the Charles Town Cannons of the Valley Baseball League is Friday, June 5, at Sager Field on the campus of Jefferson High. The 7 p.m. opener will again feature college players who all have remaining eligibility at their respective schools.
With the addition of Charlottesville this summer, the Valley League now has 12 franchises and will have two six-team divisions this season.
Charles Town could be missing some of its players because Florida Atlantic, Vanderbilt and the College of Charleston (SC) are involved in the NCAA Division I national tournament where 64 teams have qualified for the 16 Regionals.
The Cannons have listed on their roster infielder Gunnar Lambert and pitcher Weston Clemente from Florida Atlantic, outfielder Joseph Mundy from Vanderbilt and outfielder Bradley Jones from College of Charleston.
There will be no players from WVU or Marshall and none from any of the schools in the Mountain East Conference. No players who performed in high school at either Jefferson or Washington are listed on the Opening Night roster of the Cannons.
Charles Town, which plays all of its home games at Sager Field and has a 7 p.m. start to all its regular season games, finished second in the league playoffs last summer when its championship bid was foiled by the Harrisonburg Turks in early August.
The Valley League’s regular season is slated to run from June 5 to late July when the playoffs begin.
The Cannons’ roster has catchers Erik Garcia (Missouri Baptist), Peyton Maddox (VMI), and Clint Carr (Valdosta State, Ga.) as well as infielders Sam Fragale (Virginia Tech), Austin Bream (Liberty), Jacob Jaye (VMI), Will Watson (LSU-Eunice), Aaron Callazo (Missouri Baptist), P.J. Harris (Alabama State) and Ryan Phillips (Tennessee Wesleyan ).
The team’s early-season outfielders as well as Mundy and Jones are Carlos Matamoros (Berry) and Bryson Bowman (Western Carolina). The pitching staff includes Justin Flores (South Alabama), Evan Richardson (LSU-Eunice), Riley Echols (Central Arkansas), Dillion Drable Central Arkansas), Donte Lindsay (Bethune Cookman), Mason Aeiker (Sinclair CC), Ari Kaufman (Lafayette), Steven Ridings (Messiah), Jack Charleston (Faulkner), Austin Stephens (South Alabama), Tyler Dearden (Marist) and Stephen Soloman (Belhaven).