Most players who participate in the Bob Ross Classic each summer are among the best in their high school programs. In Saturday’s edition of the all-star game, there were eight players who were first team all-conference and seven who were on second team.
The game’s most valued player, though, has never played varsity baseball.
Springboro’s Luke Donaghy was named MVP after going 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk in a 7-0 win for the White team over the Blue at Fifth Third Field. Donaghy had a leadoff double in the second inning and added another double in the fourth that scored the game’s first run.
Donaghy and 20 other area players participated in the Classic, which is made up of some of the Miami Valley’s best incoming seniors and usually draws college coaches and professional scouts.
“I haven’t played in a while, but I came out and had good batting practice and felt good all the way through,” Donaghy said of his performance. “Whenever I got down two strikes I just did choke-and-poke, which is what I’ve always done.”
Donaghy played on the freshman and junior varsity teams his first two years at Springboro and hoped to make varsity last spring. With 15 seniors on Springboro’s roster, spots were tight.
“Tryouts could have gone a little better for me, and with all those seniors signed already, I just got stuck with the JV group,” Donaghy said. “We had a fun year, so no regrets.”
The Panthers went 19-10 and won the Greater Western Ohio Conference National West Division. Since a bulk of the team graduated, Donaghy hopes he’ll be a key player next season.
“I want to start every game, make it as far as we can in the state tournament, and try to bring home some of that hardware,” Donaghy said.
It was a dominating performance by the White squad, which had 13 hits while the Blue managed four. Northwestern’s Gage Voorhees went three innings without allowing a hit, and five other players were effective in relief.
Voorhees provided a spark at the plate in the fourth with a two-out double to left field and scored the game’s first run when Donaghy followed a double. Newton’s Cole Weaver added an RBI double to left field before the end of the inning to boost the lead to 2-0.
The White added four runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to put the game away.
After Donaghy was announced as the game’s MVP, he was surrounded in a huddle by the White’s players and congratulated by Alter coach Rick Blyberg, who served as the team’s head coach.
Donaghy is a scholar athlete at Springboro, a recognition of stellar academic performance while participating in a sport. He said he’s dreamt about playing baseball in college but hadn’t considered it a serious possibility.
“I’m not sure if I’ll play (in college) and I know I’ll have to decide soon,” Donaghy said. “But this may change my mind.” Donaghy said.