Grubbs having all-star summer in Valley League

STAUNTON, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Lliam Grubbs got his first taste of college baseball this past spring as a freshman right-hander at James Madison. Now he's spending his first summer of baseball as a member of the Valley League's Staunton Braves.

The Louisa County High School product is making the most of it.

"My first start, I struggled a little bit. But once I found a groove, I finally figured out all of my pitches -- what I can throw, what I can't throw," Grubbs said. "Now it's like, okay, now I know what I'm doing."

Through Monday afternoon, Grubbs is 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts for Staunton this summer. He has struck out 31 hitters and walked just six in 19 2/3 innings of work. This past weekend, Grubbs was selected to represent the Braves at this Sunday's Valley League All-Star Game at JMU.

Grubbs is working as a starter for Staunton this summer after pitching out of the JMU bullpen last spring. Grubbs made 15 relief appearances for the Diamond Dukes, finishing with one mid-week save at VMI and a 6.61 ERA in 16 1/3 innings pitched, with 18 strikeouts and 10 walks, and 15 hits allowed. His longest outing was two full innings, a mark he hit in three separate appearances.

Grubbs says JMU coaches wanted him to get stronger this summer, and work on getting left-handed hitters out more consistently. He has embraced the challenges that have come with pitching in the Valley League.

"Hearing kids from big schools like Auburn, Clemson come up to bat, I'm like, "All right, this will be fun." Stuff like that," Grubbs said. "So that's definitely been fun. And then playing with these guys, having these guys, getting to know different guys, it's definitely a blast."