Yan­nessa wins Lower Montco MVP

The Ambler Gazette - - OPINION - By Mike Prince

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.

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