Yannessa wins Lower Montco MVP
Huntingdon Va l l e y ’s season ended in disappointment, a 9-5 home loss to Roslyn in the Lower Montco AmeriFDn LHJLRn VHPLfinDO URunG. But along the way, during and even after the 24-game season, Valley had plenty of which to be proud.
9DOOHy finLVhHG ZLWh Dn overall record of 16-7-1, easily good for its best record in team history. It also came within one win of having the opportunity to challenge Fort Washington for WhH OHDJuH WLWOH Rn WhH finDO day of the season. And Valley, coached by Evan Horn, did all of this after losing a few of its key players from the past two seasons.
A lot of that success was made possible by Jake Yannessa, Valley’s starting shortstop, who was responVLEOH IRU WhH finDO SLHFH RI good news that Valley would receive this weekend.
Last week, Yannessa, who is also a pitcher, earned the Lower Montco American Legion league MVP Award.
,n hLV fiUVW DnG RnOy yHDU in the league, Yannessa, a 6SULnJfiHOG HLJh 6FhRRO SURGuFW, OHG 9DOOHy WR LWV fiUVW postseason appearance in 10 years.
HH finLVhHG ZLWh Dn LnFUHGible batting average of .422 to go along with 29 hits, 27 runs, 20 walks and 17 stolen bases, while being named as a Second Team All-League shortstop. On the mound, he compiled a 4-1 record with a 1.69 ERA and 42 strikeouts, while earning First Team All-League pitching honors.
His season, which almost didn’t even happen, was remarkable to say the least.
“He called me and asked if I had an opening on my team,” Horn said. “He came out, made the team and was our best player. I knew he was the best player in the league before he started and we just had to see what we could get out of him. He came in with what I was told was a bunch of ‘baggage’ and I saw nothing of what was told to me about him.”
Yannessa was passed up by Fort Washington and was unable to play for Cedarbrook and Roslyn due to their rosters already being full. He had played non-legion ball, AAU ball and had previously played at SpringfiHOG WZR VHDVRnV HDUOLHU, when he was also selected to the Carpenter Cup team, but was left without a team until Horn gave him the chance.
“I didn’t expect to even be playing on a team this year to be honest,” Yannessa said. “Lou Lombardo (general manager) was good enough to sign me over to Valley and I ended up with a great group of guys. I wouldn’t say I expected any of this, but I was and am happy about all of it for sure.”
Yannessa was ruled ineligible to play in his senior yHDU DW 6SULnJfiHOG, DV hH DWtended Chestnut Hill Academy for one year and lost his athletic eligibility following his junior year of high school.
And after having trouble finGLnJ D nHZ hRPH IRU hLPself on the diamond, Horn pointed out that he couldn’t have asked for anymore from the 19-year-old ballplayer.
“Jake always gives 100 percent,” Horn said. “He doesn’t take a pitch off. I compare him to a Pete Rose, ‘Charlie Hustle’ type of player. I was blessed to have him on my team for one year and I was not surprised by his numbers. His leadership ZDV WhHUH Rn WhH fiHOG DnG , didn’t see a better player in the league than him. We had a very deep pitching staff and team, but he was a huge reason for our success.”
Yannessa played in every single inning of every game this past year for Valley, VDnV WhH finDO WhUHH LnnLnJV RI WhH finDO UHJuODU VHDVRn game, one which had no signLfiFDnFH WR WhH VWDnGLnJV RU playoff bracket.
“He wants to be the best,” Horn said. “He tries to be the best and he strives to be the best.”
Yannessa has been playing baseball for as long as he can remember. When asked, he spoke of photo albums which contain pictures of him playing baseball with his dad as early as 15 years ago, when he was only fouryears-old.
Along with catcher Jake 0DGnLFN, fiUVW EDVHPDn ChULV 5uhO, RuWfiHOGHU 0DWW Meyers and designated hitter Robert Hoffman, Yannessa was one of four First Team All-League players on the Valley roster.
“I was ecstatic and extremely pleased when I found out that I won MVP and when I saw that Jake (Madnick) came in third, too,” Yannessa said. “We had a great showing at Valley this year. I’m happy for the organization and my team. Coach Horn helped me a lot and the success was a big combination between
him and everybody. We hit it off from the very start.”
After this summer, Yannessa, who has played for travel teams and in showcases that took place all the way down to Virginia and Georgia, will move on to DeSales University, where he will be brought in to play shortstop for the foreseeable future.
If he can repeat his performance from this summer, there is no reason to believe that Yannessa will see much time on the bench while with his new team.