Minor league report: Class A Power finish 1st half strong, six named to all-star game
While it appears the West Virginia Power will come up just short of a South Atlantic League Northern Division title, it's hard not to call the team's first half a success.
After skidding out of the gates to a 1-6 start, the Power (36-32 through Friday) will finish at least a handful of games over .500 and were a factor in the division race down to the final week. They trailed the first-place Hickory by two games with two games to play entering Saturday.
Six West Virginia players were named to the league's all-star game to be played Tuesday at Lakewood, N.J., which tied for the most selections in the division.
Pitchers Orlando Castro and Tyler Glasnow, infielders Stetson Allie and Dilson Herrera and outfielders Josh Bell and Walker Gourley were picked for the all-star game after helping dig the Power out of the early-season hole.
Power manager Mike Ryan said his talented young players carry a major league mentality as well.
“We didn't mention one thing about how big of a game this was, they know,” Ryan said after a 1-0 win over then-first place Hagerstown on June 8.
“They believe they can be in every game and, no matter the score, they're going to fight and claw and try to get back into it or do whatever they need to do to keep the lead.
“When you have that combination, it's just a matter of time before you have success.”
Gourley the unsung hero
While Allie, Bell, Glasnow, and even Castro have gotten their just due in terms of attention thus far, Ryan feels at least one of his all stars hasn't.
Gourley has set the table for Allie and Bell all season, hitting .325 with a team-high 13 stolen bases, while also playing solid defense.
The Pirates' 13th-round selection in 2009, Gourley has struggled since he was drafted and his .253 average last year in the New York-Penn League was a career best.
But the 21-year-old seems to be putting it together, and Ryan raves about his intangibles.
“This kid doesn't get enough credit, but he's the heart and soul of that group, no question,” Ryan said. “He's our leader. The way he goes about his business and the way he plays a full nine innings with that effort — the player he's becoming and the professional he's become, the leader he wants to be is outstanding and they follow that. He's by far our most valuable player.”
Ryan Pritt is a freelance writer.