Results tagged ‘ Kevin Vance ’

Dash alumni start All Pro Lessons

Jason Van Skike created All Pro Lessons, and 10 other Dash alumni participate (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Jason Van Skike created All Pro Lessons, and 10 other Dash alumni participate in the unique program (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Minor League Baseball players are tremendous resources for young players, but it is difficult for them to work with these youngsters during the spring and summer. As a result, a group of Minor Leaguers started All Pro Lessons, which connects them with the youth who desire some baseball tutoring.

All Pro Lessons currently boasts 13 Minor Leagues, all of whom accept video from players around the world. Within 72 hours, these players respond back with their feedback on what they see.

Of those 13 men, 10 of them have played in Winston-Salem at some point. Current Dash players Tony Bucciferro, Grant Buckner, Adam Heisler and Michael Johnson are available for instruction, while alumni Stew Brase, Jarrett Casey, Chris Curley, Michael Earley, Brady Shoemaker and Kevin Vance also participate.

Another former Winston-Salem product, right-hander Jason Van Skike, was the one who came up with the unique idea. A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Van Skike received many requests from players in that area, but he could not be there very often due to his baseball schedule.

He tried a trial run with one of his former students, and the player made notable improvements over the next few weeks.

“I wondered how I could continue giving these lessons,” Van Skike said. “There are a lot of people who do lessons online, but not in the format that we have.”

Van Skike, who now plays for the independent Wichita Wingnuts, originally looked for a simple way for him to make a little extra money, but now it has grown to a program that is active on Facebook and Twitter. He is also hoping to add video tutorials to spark interest.

“The response has been very positive,” Van Skike said. “It is something that actually can work, and it acts as a release for the guys who help out. We have participated in camps before, and this gives us a chance on get-away day or while we’re hanging out in the hotel to help out young players.”

All Pro Lessons has a wide array of tutorials and programs that can help any young player. Plus, every position and every type of player is represented.

Be sure to check out their website here. Maybe, your child can one day return the favor after these lessons help them reach professional baseball.

– Brian

The sun has set in Arizona

Stephen McCray shined in six starts during the AFL season (Dan Barber/W-S Dash).

Stephen McCray shined in six starts during the AFL season (Dan Barber/W-S Dash).

The Arizona Fall League came to an end over the weekend, and many Dash alumni performed well during the six-week prospect showcase. Eight White Sox prospects helped the Glendale Desert Dogs to a 13-16-2 record, and seven of them have called Winston-Salem home at some point during their minor league career.

Here are those seven players’ stats from the AFL:

RHP Chris Bassitt:
1-0, 0.90 ERA, 10.0 IP, 1 R/ER, 9 K in 10 appearances

INF Micah Johnson:
.320, 6 RBI, 6 R, 3 SB in 6 games (injured in middle of season)

LHP Charlie Leesman:
0-1, 1.74 ERA, 10.1 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 K in 7 appearances (1 start)

RHP Stephen McCray:
2-2, 2.57 ERA, 21.0 IP, 10 R, 6 ER, 9 K in 6 starts

OF Jared Mitchell:
.304, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 12 R, 6 SB, 1.005 OPS in 20 games

INF Marcus Semien:
.156, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R in 21 games

RHP Kevin Vance:
0-0, 2.13 ERA, 12.2 IP, 3R/ER, 13 K in 10 appearances

A few of these players weighed in on Twitter after wrapping up the 2013 season about two months after most minor leaguers.

It was quite a showing for the White Sox in the AFL. Now, the countdown to the 2014 season has begun for everyone in baseball. We will keep you posted on all of it as winter approaches. Stay tuned.

– Brian

Fun in the sun for Dash alums

Stephen McCray is the reigning Pitcher of the Week in the AFL (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Stephen McCray is the reigning Pitcher of the Week in the AFL (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

The Arizona Fall League is in full swing, and the White Sox are having a very strong showing. Eight Chicago farmhands, seven of whom have played in Winston-Salem at some point in their minor league careers, are in the AFL, and most of them boast strong numbers for the Glendale Desert Dogs, who are a half-game out of first place 14 games into the season.

Reigning AFL Pitcher of the Week Stephen McCray has been one of the breakout performers on the showcase circuit. Through three starts, the former Tennessee Volunteer has yet to allow a run over 10 and two-thirds innings. He has only surrendered three hits and issued four walks.

The rest of the Dash-turned-Desert Dog contingent has also thrived in Arizona. Check out these stats:

Chris Bassitt – 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 K
Micah Johnson – .320, 6 RBI, 6 R, 3 SB, .899 OPS
Charlie Leesman – 0-1, 2.08 ERA, 4.1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 K
Stephen McCray – 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 10.2 IP, 3 H, 5 K
Jared Mitchell – .308, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 7 R, 1.011 OPS
Marcus Semien – .156, 3 RBI, 3 R, 5 BB
Kevin Vance – 0-0, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 6 K

The only former Winston-Salem player to struggle so far in Arizona has been Semien, who was arguably the biggest breakout performer within the White Sox farm system in 2013. In other words, Semien will be just fine, and Chicago’s front office should be thrilled about the results thus far.

Fans can follow along with these players and the rest of the highly-touted prospects in the AFL here.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the World Series. It is incredible to think that Xander Bogaerts was in Winston-Salem for the All-Star Game 16 months ago. Should be quite a series.

– Brian

Alumni react to Southern League title

Winston-Salem did not qualify for the postseason, but many players who have suited up for the Dash in recent years celebrated a championship last night.

Double-A Birmingham claimed its first Southern League championship in 11 years with a 4-2 win over Mobile in a winner-take-all Game 5 on Sunday night. Mobile, who fell one win short of a three-peat, scored twice in the first, but the trio of Myles Jaye, Ryan Kussmaul and Cody Winiarski (who finished off the championship clincher with this strikeout) held the BayBears off the scoreboard in the final eight innings.

Offensively, Micah Johnson was the star of the show. The former Indiana Hoosier hit a solo homer in the first inning to get the Barons on the board, and he drove home a run and scored another in the deciding three-run second frame.

Twitter was buzzing with reactions from Birmingham, where the Barons ushered in the Regions Field era with a championship.

Congratulations to the Barons on a magical season. A total of 48 players suited up for the Barons this season, and 39 of them played in Winston-Salem at some point during their minor league careers.

– Brian

Barons ticketed for Southern League Finals

A year ago, Winston-Salem was involved in the Mills Cup Finals. Many of the Dash’s players in that playoff run a year ago, along with some members of the 2013 Dash, are heading to the highest stage in the Southern League.

The Birmingham Barons, the White Sox Double-A affiliate, punched a ticket to the Southern League Championship Series for the first time in 11 years. Birmingham accomplished this feat with a 7-4 victory in its winner-take-all clash with the Tennessee Smokies on Monday night.

In that Game 5 battle, Dash alumni shined for the Barons. Mike Blanke and Micah Johnson drove home a run apiece, and Jared Mitchell scored twice to cap a big North Division Series. Myles Jaye started the game, and Cody Winiarski collected the final four outs for a save.

Twitter was packed with some great tweets from some Barons players, many of whom made a stop in Winston-Salem en route to this Double-A postseason run.

The Southern League Championship Series pits the Barons and the Mobile BayBears, who host Game 1 and Game 2. The series begins Wednesday night, with the first of three possible home games for the Barons coming up on Friday night.

Good luck to the Barons, especially those former Dash stars who are now three wins away from a ring at the Double-A level.

– Brian

Johnson, 5 alums heading to Arizona Fall League

Micah Johnson will be suiting up for the Glendale Desert Dogs this fall (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Micah Johnson will be suiting up for the Glendale Desert Dogs this fall (Steve Orcutt/W-S Dash).

Winston-Salem infielder Micah Johnson’s season will not end when the Dash wrap up their 2013 regular season in Wilmington, Del., on Monday. Johnson, along with five Dash alums, will be playing in the prestigious Arizona Fall League for the Glendale Desert Dogs.

Johnson leads Minor League Baseball with 83 stolen bases, 22 of which have come with Winston-Salem after he began the year with Low-A Kannapolis. The former Indiana University product has also scored the fifth-most runs in the minors this year. He has touched home plate a combined 103 times with the Intimidators and the Dash.

Five other White Sox farmhands are ticketed for the AFL, and all of them have played in Winston-Salem en route to the top two levels of the minors:

RHP Chris Bassitt (2012-13)
This season: 11-4, 3.08 ERA, 138 K (Winston-Salem/Birmingham)

LHP Charlie Leesman (2010)
This season: 4-3, 3.87 ERA, 78 K (Charlotte), made major league debut on August 9 

RHP Stephen McCray (2012)
This season: 10-10, 3.67 ERA, 78 K (Birmingham/Charlotte)

INF Marcus Semien (2012)
This season: .280, 19 HRs, 61 RBIs, 106 R (Birmingham/Charlotte)

RHP Kevin Vance (2012)
This season: 2-6, 4.11 ERA, 7 saves, 81 K (Birmingham)

5 Dash alums will join Johnson in the Arizona Fall League when play commences in October (

5 Dash alums will join Johnson in the Arizona Fall League when play commences in October (

The AFL, which begins play in early October, is a six-team circuit. Each team consists of highly-regarded prospects from five different organization. In addition to the White Sox, the Desert Dogs also feature players from the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins.

Winston-Salem begins its final home series of the regular season tonight at 6 at BB&T Ballpark against the Potomac Nationals. The Dash and Nationals will complete their suspended game from July 11 and then play a seven-inning contest to wrap up the makeshift doubleheader. Check back later for a preview of today’s action.

– Rob

Snodgress takes no-hitter into ninth inning

Scott Snodgress dominated the Carolina League in the second half of 2012 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Scott Snodgress dominated the Carolina League in the second half of 2012 (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

On Monday night in Alabama, former Winston-Salem southpaw Scott Snodgress was working on something pretty special. Snodgress took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of Double-A Birmingham’s 7-0 win over Chattanooga.

Matt Wallach laced a sharp single to right-center with one down in the ninth to snap the no-hit bid, which would have been the first nine-inning no-no for a Birmingham starter since 1995.

“It was a lot of fun,” Snodgress said in his postgame radio interview. “I’m disappointed that I couldn’t finish it off, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Birmingham’s roster consists of many players who contributed to a historic season in Winston-Salem last season. In 2012, Snodgress was 4-0 with a 1.50 earned run average in his eight starts with the Dash, a club that had an incredible camaraderie last season en route to full-season Minor League Baseball’s best regular season record. According to Snodgress, that attitude has rolled over to Birmingham this season.

“We all come out and play our hearts out to win,” he continued. “It’s not an individual thing. Everyone’s pulling for the other guys. That’s something you don’t see on some teams. I think that’s part of what makes it so special.”

Players showed their support for Snodgress immediately after the Lookouts’ lone hit last night. They also applauded him last night on Twitter.

Snodgress was very appreciative of the support.

Congrats to Scott, a great pitcher and an even better guy. It was fun getting to know him briefly in 2012. He now leads the Southern League with 10 wins. What an outing.

– Brian

Relive last year’s head shaving event

The Winston-Salem Dash and VS. Cancer are teaming up to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer this Friday at BB&T Ballpark. After the game, several Dash players will have their heads shaved on the field, a la last August’s Basebald event. Thanks to two of the Dash’s stellar photographers, Steve Orcutt and Jody Stewart, here are some of the sights from last year’s event:


Terance Marin chipped in with his barber skills by shaving the head of fellow right-handed hurler Chris Bassitt.

08242012_SO-500Michael Earley, who hit .291 with 73 RBIs for Winston-Salem in 2012 and now plies his trade for Double-A Birmingham, takes his turn in the barber’s chair.

08242012_SO-544Former Dash right-hander Justin Collop gets his head shaved by survivor Grant Ivey, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.


Right-hander J.R. Ballinger showed his support as well.

082412_JS_0893Some of the Dash’s participants pose with Grant to show off their new looks. (From left to right: Ballinger, Earley, Nick Ciolli, Bassitt, Juan Silverio and Kevin Vance)

Come out and join us Friday night to see whose head gets shaved this year and show your support for VS. Cancer in the fight against childhood cancer!

– Rob

Game #65 Preview – Winston-Salem v. Lynchburg

With six days remaining in the first half, the Dash are one game behind Myrtle Beach in the Southern Division standings. Thus, we will have a game preview available for every game until either the Dash or the Pelicans claim the first-half crown.

Game #65 – Home Game #35
Winston-Salem Dash vs. Lynchburg Hillcats
Tuesday, June 11 – 7 p.m.
Current Position: 2nd (1.0 GB)


For the first time since Thursday, the Dash find themselves looking up at the Birds in the Southern Division. Winston-Salem spoiled a five-run lead at home against Lynchburg in a 10-9 defeat, while Myrtle Beach edged Frederick 2-1. Winston has six games remaining in the first half, while the Pelicans finish with seven games in six days.

Chris Bassitt defeated the Hillcats on April 23 at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).

Chris Bassitt defeated the Hillcats on April 23 at BB&T Ballpark (Jody Stewart/W-S Dash).


Winston-Salem – RHP Chris Bassitt (5-2, 3.74 ERA): Bassitt is tied for fourth in the Carolina League with five wins, and his earned run average is 12th-best on the circuit. However, the righty has struggled in his last five starts (1-2, 7.11 ERA). Prior to this funk, Bassitt was arguably the CL’s best pitcher through mid-May (4-0, 1.71 ERA). The former Akron Zip collected one of his team high-tying six quality starts during his only outing against Lynchburg in 2013. He went six innings and surrendered only two runs in a win over the Hillcats on April 23 at BB&T Ballpark.

Lynchburg – TBA: The Hillcats have yet to announce a starter. A roster move is expected in advance of tonight’s game.


  • The Dash’s season-long six-game home winning streak came to an end on Monday. Winston-Salem, who suffered its first home loss of the month, outscored its opposition 46-17 during the streak.
  • In Monday’s series opener, Winston spoiled a five-run lead, the largest advantage wasted in a Dash loss this season. The Dash had not wasted a lead bigger than last night’s five-run cushion since August 31, 2011, when Winston-Salem held a 7-1 lead in a game it lost to Salem by a score of 16-10.
  • Winston-Salem matched a season high with three homers in Monday’s loss. The Dash are second in the Carolina League with 56 homers, which is one shy of Frederick for the circuit’s top spot.
  • Joey DeMichele continued his recent tear with a 2-for-4 effort Monday. He boasts a 10-game hitting streak, which is one game shy of the longest by a Dash hitter this season. Both Mark Haddow and Rangel Ravelo have strung together a hitting streak of 11 games in 2013.
  • Outfielder Courtney Hawkins continues to thrive since returning from the disabled list on June 2. The top prospect in the White Sox system hit his 12th homer in his 33rd game with Winston-Salem. Since his left shoulder injury fully healed, Hawkins is hitting .308 (12-for-39) with five homers and 14 RBIs.
  • Congratulations to Double-A Birmingham on clinching the first half North Division title in the Southern League with a win over Jacksonville on Monday. More than half of the current Barons were with Winston-Salem last year on a team that many called the “best team I’ve ever been on.” Two Dash alums spoke out on Twitter about the accomplishment.


The Pelicans and Frederick Keys continue their three-game set from Field tonight at 7:05. This season, Myrtle Beach is 6-3 against the Keys, who are now 3.5 games behind Potomac in the Northern Division. Thus, this is a huge game for Frederick, too. The Birds send Victor Payano (4-3, 3.86 ERA) to the hill against fellow southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez (6-2, 2.94 ERA).


Join Rob Low and I for all the play-by-play coverage beginning at 6:45 with the Pregame Dash. Fans can listen live here or watch on

– Brian

From W-S to Team USA?

The White Sox squared off with Team USA in an exhibition game yesterday, and a 2012 Dash alum had the unique opportunity to suit up for United States.

Right-handed reliever Kevin Vance was an emergency pitcher for Team USA, just in case something happened to any of the club’s pitchers as Joe Torre’s crew prepares for the World Baseball Classic. Vance did not pitch in the game, but he was decked out in Red, White and Blue…

The Sox and Team USA ended up finishing the game at a 4-4 tie, and no major injuries were suffered in the game. Thus, it was a success. The experience will also be one that Vance never forgets. The squad even trusted him with an important job during batting practice…the bucket (gathering all of the baseballs hit into the outfield).

Vance shined with Winston-Salem in 2012, and he will have quite a story to tell around the Triad if he returns for the start of the 2013 campaign.


UPDATE: Also in this game, Dan Black, Brandon Short and Daniel Wagner appeared for Team USA. Wagner tweeted out this photo of it:

Congratulations to everyone involved!

– Brian