Cartersville native, Connor Justus, is off to a successful professional baseball start with the Orem (UT) Owlz of the Pioneer League.
The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket and Cartersville Hurricane has started three of the Owlz’ first four games at shortstop and has a .250 batting average with a walk and two RBIs in 12 official at-bats.
Orem, who has played all four games on the road, lost its opener at Grand Junction (CO) but has now won three games in a row. The Los Angeles Angels’ Rookie League affiliate is now 3-1 and the Owlz are co-leaders of the Pioneer League’s South Division.
Justus singled up the middle Tuesday night to give Orem a 4-3 lead in an eventual 7-4 win at Idaho Falls. He finished the night 1-for-3 with a a walk and a run batted in. On June 18, Justus drove in a run with a first inning groundout to second base during a 9-6 win at Grand Junction (CO).
In his pro debut on June 17, Justus was 2-for-4 in a 7-6 loss at Grand Junction. He singled with a line drive to right field in his first plate appearance and had a ground ball single to center field in the top of the fourth.
Justus has batted fifth in the Owlz' order in each of his starts.
The Pioneer League is comprised of eight teams made up of mostly first and second year professional players. The eight teams are located in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Utah and represent the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals, and Los Angeles Dodgers. The rookie level league runs June through September and plays about 60 games.
Other MiLB players with local ties to Cartersville and Bartow County:
Grant DeBruin — Hagerstown Suns (Adairsville HS)
After starting the year with the Washington Nationals’ Advanced Class A team in Potomac, DeBruin is now with the Class A Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League. In 15 games and 52 official at bats with the two teams combined, he has a .173 batting average and five RBI. In a recent, four-game, home series against the Greenville (SC) Drive, DeBruin was 4-for-13 with a walk and two RBI.
Dalton Geekie — Rome Braves (Georgia Highlands College)
His most recent outing was a two inning stint June 18 in a 3-2 home win over the Greenville Grasshoppers. The Houston, TX native allowed a run on one hit and a walk and struck out two while on the mound in the sixth and seventh innings. Geekie is 2-2 on the season with a 5.81 ERA in 20 appearances. He has worked 31 innings, recorded 18 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting .231 against him.
Sam Howard — Hartford Yard Goats (Cartersville HS)
Recently promoted to Double-A Hartford, Howard made his third start for the Yard Goats June 21 in an 11-3 home loss to Richmond. Howard, who was moved to Hartford after a highly successful start to his year with the Modesto Nuts of the California League, struggled in 3 and 2/3 innings. He allowed 11 hits and a walk and was charged with eight runs (only three earned) in the loss. In 14 starts in 2016 at both Modesto and Hartford, Howard is 4-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 81 and 2/3 innings. He has 81 strikeouts and opponents are batting .222 against him.
Donavan Tate — Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Cartersville HS)
Remains on the disabled list for the Dodgers Advanced Class A affiliate in the California League.
To check on these local players any time, use the 'Athletes Beyond Bartow' page of this web site to locate active links to each players statistics, schedules, results, and other team information.