The Staunton Braves' roster is peppered with college players from as far away as Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee, but in the mix is a trio of pitchers that all went to lee high school and are back in Staunton for a summer of Valley League Ball.
"Growing up, watching the Braves play, I mean all these guys were my idols, said Staunton native and JMU pitcher Dylan Horne. "Really it's a dream come true because I grew up watching them."
"We pride ourselves on giving the local boys a chance, said Braves head coach George Lasse. "What we wnat to do is we want to help our own. We want to put a fence up. We want to make sure we corral that talent, and we want to give them the best opportunity to get to the next level as possible."
Playing for the Braves is particularly special for Taylor Davis, Dylan Horne and Tyler Zombro. All three were born and bred in Staunton and are products of R.E. Lee High School.
"Tyler is one of my best friends, said Braves pitcher Taylor Davis, who plays at Ferrum College. "Dylan lives literally 20 feet from my house, so we all grew up playing ball together and everything. Those are two really good guys to be able to play with."
"It's really neat to play with guys from the area, said said George Mason pitcher Tyler Zombro. "I think it's kind of overshawdowed how good baseball is in the Valley. It's really neat to be with these good collegiate athletes back here at home in this league when we're all from the area."
"When the players are happy, you're going to find out they're going to play a little bit better baseball, said Lasse. "When you bring in some boys that are together and close together and play on the same team, it actually brings the whole team together because they'll see them having fun and they'll see the continuity they can bring to the table."
Local players means local pride, and these boys from R.E. Lee certainly add to the nostalgia at Gypsy Hill Park.