The Free Press (Edinburg, VA)
For Rebels Mickens, it's Showtime
By Jerry Carter - July 13, 2009
The rosters of the 12 Valley Baseball League teams include 28 players on each team giving the league a total of 336 active spots for the 44 game schedule. Each player comes to our Valley for their own reason that could range from trying to draw attention from Major League Baseball scouts or possibly to expatiate their rehab from a recent injury.
The New Market Rebels have a player this season that might be in a category with little company. Kenny Mickens II is listed as a member of Los Angles City College and the sophomore brought his bat and glove to Rebel Park in hopes of finding a four year school to play for this fall. Mickens began his college playing days at San Diego State University before transferring out to the first of a pair of community colleges.
The fact that Mickens made the cross country trek from Southern California to Shenandoah County can be linked to a phone call made to the Rebels former pitching coach Rick Smith from a hitting instructor in the Los Angles Dodgers organization that mentioned the young man and his ability to play the game.
“When the phone call is coming from a major league hitting instructor and someone is telling you about the ability level of a player you tend to listen,” New Market skipper Lucas Jones said. “The young man has shown a great work ethic since day one and we are trying to help him find a home for this fall.”
Mickens adjusted well after the 3,000 mile trip and the next obstacle was to become accustomed to swinging the wooden bat that the VBL uses in their contests. After a slow start to the season Mickens has taken his game to the next level and his efforts did not go unnoticed by the home fans or the officials around the league. Mickens led the league in hitting this past week, finishing the stretch with a .538 average.
The 14 hits for the week included four doubles and collecting five RBI and earned Mickens the Central Division Player of the Week honors. The success that Mickens has achieved at the plate has come as to no surprise to Lucas.
“Kenny is very disciplined at the plate in every at bat,” Lucas added. “He doesn’t chase balls out of the zone and is great at fending off pitches once he has two strikes. He creates at bats for himself by not striking out.”
Mickens continued his recent tear when the Rebels played back to back games with the Woodstock River Bandits. Mickens went 5 for 8 (.625) against Woodstock will manning the lead off spot for Lucas and the Rebels on Sunday and Monday night.
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