Granville, W.Va. – The Black Bears today announced four players were selected to represent West Virginia at the 15th New-York Penn League All-Star Game. This year’s game will be hosted by the Staten Island Yankees at RichmondCounty Bank Ballpark in Staten Island, NY.
Fans will enjoy game day festivities like the meet and greet session with the All-Stars, the NYPD and NYFD home run derby and the NY-Penn League Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The game will take place on August 21 with first pitch setfor 7:05 p.m.
Of the four selections, three are 2019 MLB Draft picks selected within the first 10 rounds by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cameron Junker has produced his fair share of memorable moments since becoming a Black Bear. As the 10th round draft pick of the 2019 MLB Draft, Junker was the first player from Notre Dame selected and the fifth pitcher takenby the Pirates. In his first season of professional baseball, the 21-year-old Cincinnati, Ohio, native has a 4-0 record – the best on the team.
“This is just a stepping stone into my first full season of pro-ball,” said Junker. “To be an All-Star straight out of the draft gives me the confidence to know that I have what it takes to compete at the highest level. It really is suchan honor.”
Armed with a highly accurate fastball, Junker has not allowed an earned run in his last eight appearances. His ability to close out tough games has made him one of the most efficient West Virginia relievers with a 1.37 ERA over 19.2 inningspitched. With his first All-Star selection, Junker is basking in the moment.
“It’s such an amazing feeling,” he said. “Just knowing all the hard work I put in is truly paying off is great. It’s definitely a memory I will have for life.”
When describing outfielder Blake Sabol, versatility and extreme athleticism come to mind. Sabol, the seventh-round pick of the 2019 MLB Draft from the University of Southern California, has become one of the most consistent offensivethreats on the young West Virginia team. In his short professional career, the California kid has scored 16 runs on 37 hits, including four RBI in one game against the Auburn Doubledays.
Off the field, Sabol’s familial ties and high-profile connections to another famous professional Pittsburgh team have given him a name outside of baseball. However, through it all, Sabol still reflects on these little moments as someof the most valuable this season.
“I still remember (manager Drew Saylor) pulling me into his office to tell me that I had made it,” Sabol said. “I can’t explain the rush of excitement that came over me in that moment.”
Heading into the last quarter of the season, Sabol is determined to continue playing with the same enthusiasm he had before his selection to the 2019 All-Star team.
“It’s such an honor to be selected,” said Sabol. “This definitely makes me want to work harder in the years to come.”
Since joining the team in June, Jared Triolo, the Pirates 2019 Competitive Round B pick out of Houston, has become the most dangerous and productive hitter on the Black Bears team. In terms of batting, Triolo tops every statistical category – he has the most hits (45) and doubles (15) and is tied for the most runs (23) and triples (3) on the squad. Triolo’s 167 trips to the plate have yielded the highest offensive production overall. With the type of high energy output he generates every gameday, it’s no surprise the New Hampshire native was selected to represent West Virginia in Staten Island.
“It’s awesome. It’s always a goal at the beginning of the season to be selected for the All-Star Game,” said Triolo. “To be able to play with the highest level of talent that the NY-Penn League has to offer is such a great honor.”
As one of the Pirates top 30 prospects, Triolo is posed to become one of the most highly regarded players in the farm system. And with his ability to produce, there’s no doubt the 21-year-old will continue to rise through the ranks ofthe organization.
“It’s great knowing that the organization values you,” said Triolo. “Being in those rankings only gives me confidence going into future seasons. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
Jesus Valles is no stranger to the professional baseball scene. Unlike his All-Star comrades, the 21-year-old pitcher from Valencia, Venezuela, played for the DSL Pirates in the Dominican Republic last year. As a starter for the DSL Pirates,Valles boasted an ERA of 3.86 over 51.1 innings pitched.
This season, Valles has grown as a player, steadily improving his stat lines over the month of August. In his last three starts, Valles has pitched at least five innings each game and allowed only two earned runs.
Currently, Valles has one of the best records for a West Virginia starter at 3-1. The right-handed pitcher is as well-known for his bold and competitive personality as he is his change-up and his four-seam fastball.
As the only international player selected to represent the Black Bears at the 2019 All-Star Game, Valles brings his standout brand of Venezuelan moxie to Staten Island.
All four Black Bears will be on the Blue Team headed up by the Brooklyn Cyclones’ coaching staff.