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Athletes Beyond Bartow MiLB update: Howard, Justus continue progress

Minor League baseball players Sam Howard and Connor Justus -- both from Cartersville -- continue to toil and groom their games with their respective MiLB franchises.

Howard had a pair of starts for Hartford and Justus continues to perform at a high level in the middle of the Inland Empire defense.

SAM HOWARD — Hartford Yard Goats - Colorado Rockies organization; Double-A Eastern League (4th yr. pro; LHP, Georgia Southern; Cartersville HS) Colorado Rockies prospect and Cartersville native Sam Howard did not receive a decision in his two most recent starts, but his team — the Hartford Yard Goats of the Double-A Eastern League picked up victories in both of those games.

Howard, who made one start with Triple-A Albuquerque to begin the 2017 season, has now made seven starts for the Yard Goats.

On May 21 Howard allowed an earned run on four hits in 4.1 innings against the Akron Rubber Ducks. He struck out two. This past Wednesday against the Richmond Flying Squirrels, he allowed an earned run on three hits and fanned two in a 4 inning start. Hartford defeated Richmond 2-1.

For the season, the former Hurricanes and Georgia Southern southpaw, is 1-3 with a 1.73 ERA in 8 starts. He has one complete game shutout. He has accumulated 31 strikeouts and issued only 8 walks in 39 innings. Opponents have a .167 batting average against him.

Hartford (25-26) is 8.5 games back of the Trenton Thunder (NYY) in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League. The Yard Goats are completing a series Thursday at home against Richmond (SF) before hosting New Hampshire (TOR) Friday through Sunday.

CONNOR JUSTUS — Inland Empire 66ers - Los Angeles Angels organization - Class A Advanced - California League (2nd year pro; SS, Georgia Tech; Cartersville HS)

In games May 21 through May 31 (8 games), Los Angeles Angels shortstop prospect Connor Justus saw his batting average slip just a few points.

The stretch of games were against California League South Division leader Lancaster (COL) and Lake Elsino (SD). Justus was 6-for-31 with a double, triple, homer, three runs scored and two RBI in those games. He also coaxed five walks, stole a base, and was hit by a pitch.

For the season, he currently carries a .200 batting average and a .346 on-base percentage. He has eight doubles, a triple, three home runs and 13 RBIs. Justus has a .961 fielding percentage in 180 total chances and has been part of 27 double plays.

Inland Empire (25-28) is four games behind the Lancaster JetHawks (COL) in the South Division of the California League. The 66ers have home games with Modesto (SEA) Thursday through Saturday and host Visalia (ARI) Sunday through Tuesday.

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