Baseball's Jeff Van Houten Named 2003 Valley League MVP

July 29, 2003

HARRISONBURG, Va. - Arizona outfielder Jeff Van Houten, playing for the Harrisonburg Turks in the Valley League, has been named 2003 Most Valuable Player by a vote of the league's managers. Van Houten received 49 points in the voting, six more than runner-up Worth Scott from Staunton.

Managers ranked their top eight candidates and then a descending point value was assigned to the rankings, with the top rank receiving eight points and the bottom rank receiving one point.

Van Houten has hit in 13 of his last 14 games, including seven straight, heading into tonight's one-game playoff with Staunton. Van Houten had at least one hit in 26 of the 33 regular season games he played in, including 16 multi-hit games.

The rising junior is also the 2003 batting champion after posting a league-best .426 batting average. Van Houten led the Pac 10 Conference with a .413 batting average this past spring.

In addition to his league-leading batting average, Van Houten led the league in several other offensive categories including slugging percentage (.730), on-base percentage (.479) and doubles (18), and tied for the league-lead with 52 hits and five triples heading into the final night of the regular season. Van Houten ranked second in RBIs (35) and total bases (89).

Van Houten received two Player of the Week awards during the regular season and was the starting right fielder for the Southern Division in the 2003 All Star game.

Harrisonburg and Staunton finished the regular season with identical 26-14 records and will meet tonight in a one-game playoff at 7:30 p.m. at Staunton to determine the Southern Division pennant winner.

Rounding out the top five finalists for the 2003 MVP award were New Market's Kevin White (31), Winchester's Antoan Richardson (28) and Harrisonburg's E.J. Shanks (21).

2003 MVP Voting (First Place Votes)Van Houten (HA) - (3) 49Scott (ST) - (1) 43White (NM) - (2) 31Richardson (WI) - (1) 28Shanks (HA) - 21Diaz (LU) - 19Phillips (WA) - 15Scarbrough (CO) -14Brooks (HA) - 11Hamilton (WI) - (1) 8

(Release courtesy of Mark Hoskins of the Valley League.)

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