Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:
Oh hell, I couldn’t pick just one. These three are related, anyway, and each of them are awesome for our hometown.
First up, we have Wattsburg native and former Mercyhurst University pitcher (not to mention Division II baseball All-American) Chris Vallimont just embarrassing dudes in the Class A Midwest League for the Clinton LumberKings.
Tell me the LumberKings mascot doesn’t look like the crappy magician from Frosty the Snowman all jacked up on steroids.
Quick side note: you’ve got to love minor league baseball team names. Almost all of them are made of two nouns thrown together at random, like the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The Rumble Ponies! Or the Toledo Mud Hens, Clinton LumberKings, Portland Sea Dogs, Akron Rubber Ducks, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Florida Fire Frogs, Mississauga Mud Flaps, and of course – our very own Erie Seawolves. Only one of those names is made up! Go ahead and guess. It’s the Mud Flaps.
Anyway, back to Vallimont. The Miami Marlins selected him last year with their fifth round pick. This year, he’s made everyone else look silly for passing on him.
Wattsburg native Chris Vallimont is way too good for the Midwest League. | Photo via milb.com.
Vallimont was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for this line: two starts, 13 innings, one hit allowed, 18 strike outs and no earned runs. He took a perfect game into the 7th inning his first time out last week, and followed that up with a six-inning, one-hit gem. You can bet Chris Vallimont will be getting a promotion sooner rather than later.
But wait, there’s more! Our second feel-good story this week is a huge, comeback win in the Division II College World Series for – you guessed it – the Mercyhurst University Lakers baseball squad. They lost their opening game Sunday, which is not ideal in a double elimination tournament.
They followed up that loss with a win on Tuesday, by a score of 8-5 over Catawba on the shoulders of senior first baseman Matthew Schneider’s double, triple, and home run. Schneider just wasn’t ready to pack it up and go home.
On Wednesday, Mercyhurst got down by four runs to UC San Diego. It’s hard to come back from that kind of deficit against average competition, much less against the kind of teams you see in the College World Series. The Lakers wouldn’t go quietly, though.
Matthew Schneider, right, is carrying the Mercyhurst Laker offense to the Division II World Series semifinal. | Photo via Brett Friedlander.
With their season on the line, down one with a runner on base and two outs in the ninth inning, red hot Matthew Schneider stepped up to the plate. He lifted a long ball over the left field wall to put the Lakers up 6-5, just like you’d see in a movie. Mercyhurst would hold on for the win, keeping their hopes of competing for a national championship alive. What a game. What a team.
Lastly, more great news for the Mercyhurst baseball program. As this year’s Major League Baseball draft gets underway, two more Lakers pitchers were selected: Tyler Garbee in the 19th round by the Cincinnati Reds, and Matt Minnick in the 23rd round by the New York Yankees.
Mercyhurst’s Tyler Garbee dealing up something nasty. He’ll soon be hurling for the Cincinnati Reds organization. | Photo via Mercyhurst University.
So, congratulations to Laker grad Chris Vallimont, the entire 2019 Laker baseball team, Tyler Garbee and Matt Minnick in particular, and hats off to Mercyhurst head coach Joe Spano for creating a true Division II baseball powerhouse. These guys are fun to track, and each of them are a reason to feel good about Erie, PA.