Maple Grove Graduate To Join Valentine In Jammers Outfield
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of three stories previewing the Jamestown Jammers’ roster for the upcoming Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League season, which is set to begin June 1. Today’s installment will feature the Jammers outfielders. The pitching staff was featured in Saturday’s edition and infielders were previewed in The Sunday Post-Journal.
Center fielder Skyler Valentine will be the lone returnee among outfielders, but a newcomer may be more familiar to local fans when the Jamestown Jammers open their Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League schedule next month.
Valentine, a junior at the University of Texas-San Antonio, is hitting .226 this season. The Pearland, Texas native has six doubles and five home runs on the season while he has driven in 26 runs and scored 27. Valentine has stolen three bases and has made just six errors on 109 chances in the outfield for the Roadrunners. As a PGCBL all-star last summer, Valentine hit .314 with 10 doubles and two home runs while driving in 19 runs and stealing 15 bases.
“One of the big things I’ve learned is that I love to have veteran hitters … guys who have been experienced in college and the grind of summer ball,” Jammers manager Anthony Barone said. “On the mound it’s the opposite, I like guys who are young and haven’t thrown a lot of innings, who want to come here and get better.”
Collin Stack, a Jamestown native and Maple Grove High School graduate, will join Valentine in the Jammers’ outfield. The Monroe Community College transfer is hitting .357 with three doubles and a triple while driving in 18 runs and scoring 22 runs this spring at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Stack has also stolen five bases while making just two errors in 54 chances in the field.
Stack made headlines earlier this season when he went 3 for 5 with two doubles and drove in a school Division-I record eight runs in a 19-7 win over Mount St. Mary’s.
“It says a lot about the young men, Collin and Nolan and the type of baseball players they are,” Barone said of Stack and Westfield native Nolan Hunt, who will pitch for the Jammers this summer. “We don’t just take anybody from the local area. We are finding the best baseball players we can find.”
Another Jammers outfielder this summer also has playing experience in Jamestown as a member of the rival Victor RailRiders last summer. John Conti is a junior at Canisius College in Buffalo this spring. Conti, a Niagara Falls native, is hitting .165 with two doubles and a triple while driving in 10 runs and scoring 12 for the Golden Griffins. Conti has also stolen five bases and not made an error in limited action in the field.
Rounding out the Jammers outfield this season will be Christian Deaton of CSU Bakersfield. The junior Bakersfield, California native is hitting .176 with a double, four RBIs and seven runs scored in limited action for the Roadrunners this spring.
One player who may see action in the outfield and infield or even on the mound this summer for Barone will be Alex Ward of Belmont University. The junior from Murfreesboro, Tennessee is hitting .276 with six doubles and a home run this spring for the Bruins. The right-handed throwing and left-handed hitting Ward has driven in 11 runs and scored 10 while stealing two bases and not making an error in the field. Ward has yet to toe the rubber for Belmont, but certainly may do that for Barone this summer.
The Jammers open the season Thursday, June 1 against PGCBL newcomer Saugerties at Diethrick Park before hosting Geneva two days later. Jamestown travels to Elmira on Sunday, June 4 to complete its opening weekend of the summer.