Athletes Beyond Bartow: Solid offensive week for Justus and a breakout collegiate game for Warner
The 2019 MiLB season moves into the final days of its first month and Cartersville’s Connor Justus (photo) had his best offensive week of the year with the Mobile BayBears of the Double-A Southern League.
The former Canes’ and Georgia Tech shortstop hit safely in five of six games and raised his batting average more than 25 points in that span.
At the Triple-A level, Cartersville native Sam Howard made three relief appearances last week for the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League.
In college softball, former Cass star Sierrah Gani wrapped up her career at Georgia Highlands and finished her sophomore season with a .477 batting average and averaged one RBI per game. Freshman Paris Poston and Columbus State move into post-season play this week. The former Canes’ outfielder continues to be productive in the middle of the Cougars lineup. Also, former Cartersville pitcher Hannah Todd made a pair of appearances last week for her Kansas Jayhawks’ squad. The college baseball season is transitioning into the post-season at the NAIA and NCAA Division II and III levels, while the NCAA Division I season has only three weeks remaining in the regular season. Former Cartersville High shortstop Devin Warner made his first career start for Auburn in a mid-week game at Jacksonville State and came up big. He had his first collegiate hit in a 3-for-4, three RBI performance.
SAM HOWARD — Albuquerque Isotopes (6th yr. pro; LHP; Triple-A Pacific Coast League; Colorado Rockies’ organization; Georgia Southern; Cartersville HS)… made three relief appearances last week for the Isotopes earning his first hold of the year on Monday in an 8-6 home loss to Tacoma. Howard faced three batters with a walk and a strikeout to retire the final two outs of the seventh inning. Last Thursday, he worked the fifth and sixth innings of an 8-7 loss at Salt Lake. He walked two and fanned five in the outing. Sunday, he entered in the seventh inning and went one and two-thirds in a no-decision. He was charged with five earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two in a 14-8 loss at Salt Lake. For the season, Howard (1-0) has made nine appearances and worked just over 14 innings with a 5.65 ERA and 16 strikeouts. The Isotopes (14-10) are currently third in the PCL Pacific Southern Division.
CONNOR JUSTUS — Mobile BayBears (4th yr. pro; SS/2B; Double-A Southern League; L.A. Angels organization; Georgia Tech; Cartersville HS)… hit safely in five of six games last week and was 5-for-17 at the plate with a two-run homer, a double, a walk and three RBI to lift his season batting average to .240 in 50 at bats over 19 games. He also swiped his first two bases of the season during the week. Mobile (10-13) is currently fourth in the SL South Division, 6.5 games behind Pensacola.
SIERRAH GANI — Georgia Highlands College (So., OF, Cass HS)… went 4-for-12 with a double, a sacrifice, a run scored, and three RBI as the Chargers went 1-3 for the week against ABAC and West Georgia Tech. Gani finished the season with a .477 batting average with 47 RBI in 47 games and 132 at bats. She had one home run and 16 extra base hits along with five stolen bases. Her average led the conference. According to GHC coach Melissa Wood, Gani received a lot of next level recruiting interest to continue her playing career, but she has decided to attend Kennesaw State University for school only.
PARIS POSTON — Columbus State University (Fr., OF, Cartersville HS)… had a 2-for-3 game with one RBI and a pair of runs Saturday in a 12-1 win over Georgia Southwestern, but was only 2-for-12 for the week with a walk, two RBI, and three runs scored. CSU swept the doubleheader with the Hurricanes and took two games from UNC-Pembroke Friday to finish the regular season 35-15 overall and second in the Peach Belt Conference with a 15-5 mark. The Cougars finished one game behind nationally 4th-ranked University of North Georgia who will host the single-elimination conference tournament this Friday and Saturday in Dahlonega.
HANNAH TODD — Kansas University (So., RHP, Cartersville HS)… made a pair of brief appearances in Jayhawks’ losses last week. She recorded the final three outs in a 3-0 loss Friday night and recorded two outs in the third inning of a 10-1 loss Saturday — both home games with 12th-ranked Texas. Kansas (15-32, 3-12 Big 12 Conference) completes the regular season this Friday through Sunday with conference games at Iowa State.
TAYLOR WAITS — Brewton-Parker College (Jr., OF, Cartersville HS)… made two home appearances for the Barons this past weekend in losses to Martin Methodist. She entered as a pinch runner in a game on Friday and failed to reach in a pinch hitting appearance Saturday. BPC lost all four games of the weekend set. The Barons (16-31, 10-22 Southern States Athletic Conference) will open the conference tournament Thursday morning against Stillman College in Decatur, Alabama.
ELLIOTT ANDERSON — Auburn University (Jr., LHP, Cartersville HS)… entered in the third inning of Thursday’s 12-6 loss at 5th-ranked Vanderbilt. Anderson faced fifteen batters allowing three earned runs on five hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. 20th-ranked Auburn (27-17, 10-11 SEC) was swept in the series in Nashville and will try to bounce back this weekend at home in a three-game conference series with Alabama.
LEVI AYERS — Georgia Highlands CC (Fr., RHP, Cartersville HS)… retired the only two sixth inning batters he faced Saturday in a 5-3 Chargers’ loss at East Georgia State CC. Ayers recorded one strikeout. For the season, he is 2-0 with a 4.34 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 11 appearances and just under 19 innings pitched. Georgia Highlands (29-22, 15-13 GCAA) hosts South Georgia State Tuesday and concludes regular season play Saturday at Andrew College.
NOAH DANIEL — Reinhardt University (So., Inf., Cartersville HS)… entered as a pinch hitter and had a RBI-single up the middle in Friday’s 15-5 win over visiting Truett-McConnell University. He also scored a run. The Eagles were 3-1 for the week beating Cumberland University (TN) Wednesday and winning two of three games with NAIA 18th-ranked Truett-McConnell. Reinhardt (27-22, 15-12) finished fourth in the in the Appalachian Athletic Conference and begins the conference tournament Wednesday in Kingsport, Tennessee.
CLIFTON DEMPSEY — Toccoa Falls College (Jr., Inf., Cartersville HS)… hit safely in three of four games for the Screaming Eagles this past week. Toccoa Falls went 2-2 for the week with a loss to Truett-McConnell and won two of three games at home with Piedmont International University (NC). Dempsey went 4-for-16 in the four games including a double, a walk, two RBI, and four runs scored. Toccoa Falls (23-22) has a doubleheader Thursday afternoon at Hiwassee College (TN).
CARRINGTON EVANS — Augusta University (R-So., OF, Cartersville HS)… had three hits including a three-run home run, scored twice, and added a sacrifice hit in a 13-12 home loss Saturday to Lynn University. In a second game Saturday Evans was 0-for-3 with a walk as the Jaguars fell 8-3. He appeared in 27 games this season (15 starts) and hit .188 with 12 RBI. Augusta finished the season 18-30 and was 7-21 in the Peach Belt Conference.
LANE GRIFFITH — University of West Georgia (Jr., C, Adairsville HS)… reached base on a catcher’s interference and had one RBI last week in a 13-3 win at 4th-ranked North Georgia. He was also 2-for-12 with a walk, one RBI, and one run scored as the Wolves won one of three Gulf South Conference games over the weekend at Valdosta State University. UWG (26-23, 15-14) will open the conference tournament Friday in Oxford, Alabama as the 7-seed and will play 2-seed Mississippi College in double-elimination play.
HARRISON OSBORN — Point University (So., RHP, Cartersville HS)… was roughed up in a two inning start last Tuesday at NAIA 4th-ranked Faulkner (AL). He allowed eight earned runs on five hits and three walks and suffered the pitching loss in an eventual 16-5 loss. He also allowed three earned runs on three hits and a walk tossing an inning and one-third of relief in a 12-9 win at St. Andrews (NC). For the season, Osborn (3-3) has appeared in 14 games (10 starts) and has worked 52 innings with 33 strikeouts. Point (29-21, 13-14 AAC) opens the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Wednesday through Saturday at Kingsport, Tennessee.
MASON ROBINSON — Louisiana Tech (R-Sr., OF, Woodland HS)… went 3-for-18 with a walk and one RBI in five games last week as the Bulldogs won only one game. They beat Little Rock 5-4, but lost at McNeese and were swept in a three-game Conference USA series at Rice. Louisiana Tech (28-16, 12-9) travels to Northwestern State (LA) Tuesday and heads to Norfolk, VA Friday through Sunday at Old Dominion.
DEVIN WARNER — Auburn University (Fr., Inf., Cartersville HS)… made his first career start and had his first collegiate hit while going 3-for-4 with three RBI in a 14-2 win at Jacksonville State last Tuesday. He was also hit by pitch and scored a run. Warner also made an unsuccessful ninth inning appearance as a pinch hitter last Thursday night in a 12-6 loss at 5th-ranked Vanderbilt. Auburn (27-17, 10-11 SEC) hosts Alabama in a three-game conference series Friday through Sunday.
TYLER WASHINGTON — Young Harris College (Sr., OF, Adairsville HS)… went 2-for-6 with a solo home run and a pair of runs scored last Wednesday in the Mountain Lions doubleheader sweep of visiting West Alabama. Young Harris (31-16, 15-10) has already secured a spot in the Peach Belt Conference tournament May 10-12 in St. Augustine, but will play its final regular season series at USC-Aiken this Friday through Sunday.
ELIJAH ROBINSON -- Villa San Martin (Argentine League; Emmanuel College; Excel Christian Academy)... Robinson and Co. bowed out of the playoffs in the first round after Obera TC overcame a 2-1 deficit to win the best-of-five series. Having entered last week at 1-apiece, Villa San Martin moved one step closer to advancing with a 71-61 victory on Wednesday. Robinson led his team in scoring for the third consecutive game, finishing with 17 points and six rebounds. He made it four in a row during Friday's 87-79 defeat, scoring 14 points and pulling down seven boards. However, Robinson struggled in Game 5, ending with seven points and five rebounds, as Villa San Martin suffered a 79-73 defeat. He added three assists in each of last week's games.
PEYTON GOLLHOFER -- Ball State University (Sr., Cartersville, GA; Laurel Springs Academy)... saw her fantastic senior season come to an end in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament in Williamsville, New York. Fourth-seeded Ball State advanced past 5 seed Toledo in the first round, beating the Rockets by a 4-1 score. Gollhofer and Isabelle Dohanics dropped a 6-4 decision on Line 2 doubles to help Toledo score its lone point. Gollhofer was leading 3-6, 7-5, 2-1 in the third set of her Line 2 singles match, when Ball State clinched the victory. No. 1-seeded Miami (Ohio) rolled to a 4-0 win in the semis although Gollhofer certainly had the best showing of the Ball State competitors. She and Dohanics just missed out on a Line 2 doubles win, as the Redhawks clinched the overall doubles point with the pair leading 5-3. Miami dominated in the singles matches with Gollhofer only dropping the first set 7-5 on Line 2. She was actually leading 4-2 in the second set, when the overall match ended.
TRACK AND FIELD
SPENCER FIELDS -- Rhodes College (Sr., Kingston, GA; Darlington HS)... narrowly missed out on a conference title in the 10000-meter run, but he still helped the Lynx capture a second straight Southern Athletic Association championship over the weekend in Conway, Arkansas. Fields completed the race, which is roughly 6.2 miles, in 33 minutes, 6.6 seconds. He finished runner-up to a teammate by less than a half-second.
-- Nicholas Sullivan, The Daily Tribune News, contributed to this report.