Athletes Beyond Bartow: Local trio reach NCAA tourney, Yantis wraps career with complete-game shutou
Former Adairsville High School standout Tyler Washington along with two other Bartow County teammates at Young Harris College helped lead the Mountain Lions to their first-ever Peach Belt Conference Championship this weekend in St. Augustine, Florida to highlight this week’s ‘Athletes Beyond Bartow’ updates.
In the professional ranks, Sam Howard made two more relief appearances for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes and Connor Justus made four starts during the week for Double-A Mobile against Jacksonville.
Meanwhile on the collegiate softball diamond, former Hurricanes’ hurler Annalyn Yantis closed out her senior season at Samford University with a complete-game shutout and Rhodes College senior Spencer Fields received the Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year from the Southern Athletic Association.
ANNALYN YANTIS — Samford University (Sr., RHP, Cartersville HS)… tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout last Thursday to help lead the Bulldogs past Furman 7-0 in an elimination game at the Southern Conference Tournament in Chattanooga. It was Samford’s only win of the double-elimination tournament and the second career shutout for Yantis in her final appearance. Samford’s season ended with a loss to East Tennessee State and a 23-31 season record. Yantis finished the 2019 season 5-8 in the circle with a 5.25 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 84 innings and 22 appearances.
ELLIOTT ANDERSON — Auburn University (Jr., LHP, Cartersvile HS)… faced two batters and retired the final out of the sixth inning in the Tigers’ 4-3 win at 7th-ranked Georgia Saturday. He also entered in the first inning of the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and worked into the fourth inning of a 10-8 loss to Georgia. For the day, Anderson worked 3 and 2/3 innings allowing one earned run on four hits and a walk. He struck out two. Auburn (30-21, 13-14 SEC) hosts North Alabama Tuesday night before traveling to LSU to wrap up the conference regular season with a three-game set Thursday through Saturday. Auburn will open the SEC Championship Tournament in Hoover, Alabama Tuesday, May 21 in the single-elimination opening round. Seeding will determine the Tigers’ opening opponent with first round winners advancing to the double-elimination portion of the tournament.
LEVI AYERS — Georgia Highlands College (Fr., RHP, Cartersville HS)… faced four batters Wednesday and was saddled with the pitching loss to East Georgia State CC at the GCAA post-season tournament in Albany. Ayers entered in the sixth inning and allowed a run on one hit and two walks in the Chargers’ 8-3 loss. GHC was knocked out of the tournament later in the day with a loss to South Georgia State CC. Ayers finished the season with a 2-1 record in 13 appearances. He worked 20 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 17 strikeouts. Georgia Highlands finished the season with a 29-25 mark.
BAILEY CAMPBELL — Young Harris College (So., 1B, Cass HS)… made an appearance as a pinch hitter Friday in a 10-6 loss to Georgia College at the Peach Belt Conference Tournament in St. Augustine, Florida. Campbell grounded out, but advanced a baserunner to third in the eleventh inning. The Mountain Lions went 3-1 in in the tournament and not only reached the PBC championship game for the first time, but also won the school’s first Peach Belt Conference baseball championship by defeating USC-Aiken Sunday. Campbell has battled injury during the 2019 season but has a .313 batting average in 28 games (21 starts) and 80 at-bats. Young Harris (35-19) advances to the NCAA D-II tournament as an automatic qualifier and will be the No. 6-seed in the Southeast Regional #2 at Newberry College (SC) where they will open against Catawba College (NC) Thursday.
CLIFTON DEMPSEY — Toccoa Falls College (Jr., Inf., Cartersville HS)… went 5-for-13 with a triple, one RBI, five runs scored, and a pair of walks in the Screaming Eagles’ three games at the National Christian College Athletic Association South Region hosted by Brewton-Parker College. Toccoa Falls defeated the hosts 8-7 on Thursday, but lost to Warner University (FL) 18-6 and Trinity Baptist College (FL) 6-5 Friday to be eliminated from the region. Toccoa Falls finished the 2019 season with a 24-24 record.
MASON ROBINSON — Louisiana Tech (R-Sr., OF, Woodland HS)… went 1-for-4 with a walk and scored a run as the Bulldogs routed 15th-ranked LSU 12-1 last Tuesday in a non-conference game. He was then 2-for-7 with a double, one run scored, and two RBI as his team took two of three games over visiting Western Kentucky in a Conference USA series. Robinson has a .294 batting average through 48 games and 170 at-bats. He has three home runs and 23 RBI. The Bulldogs (32-20, 15-12) play at Mississippi State Tuesday night before finishing the regular season with a C-USA series at Florida International Thursday through Saturday. The conference tournament begins the following Wednesday in Biloxi, Mississippi.
TRISTIN SMITH — Young Harris College (Sr., 2B, Adairsville HS)… singled and drove in a run in an 11th inning, pinch hitting appearance Friday during a 10-6 loss to Georgia College during pool play at the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. He also started the next game Saturday — a 14-4 win over Georgia Southwestern — and was 0-for-3 with a walk. The Mountain Lions went on to defeat 24th-ranked North Georgia Saturday night to win their pool and reach the PBC tournament championship game where they defeated USC-Aiken to win the school’s first PBC tournament title and qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Young Harris (35-19) opens the NCAA D-II tournament against Catawba College (NC) Thursday in Southeast Regional #2 at Newberry College (SC).
DEVIN WARNER — Auburn University (Fr., Inf., Cartersville HS)… made his 12th plate appearance of his freshman season Friday as a ninth inning pinch hitter during an 11-2 home loss to 7th-ranked Georgia. Warner has a .273 batting average in 11 at-bats with three RBI, a run scored, and was hit by a pitch once. Auburn (30-21, 13-14 SEC) entertains North Alabama Tuesday night before heading to LSU for a regular season closing three-game series at LSU. The Plainsmen will play in the single-elimination opening round of the Southeastern Conference Championship Tournament Tuesday, May 22 with a chance to play their way into the double-elimination portion of the event.
TYLER WASHINGTON — Young Harris College (Sr., OF, Adairsville HS)… had a monster weekend for the Mountain Lions as they not only reached their first finals, but also won the school’s first Peach Belt Conference Championship Tournament in St. Augustine, Florida. In four tournament games, Washington was 10-for-16 with three doubles, two walks, a sacrifice, six runs scored, and four RBI extending a six-game hitting streak. He raised his batting average to .346 for the season in 42 games (35 starts) and 136 at-bats. Washington has two homers, 15 extra base hits, and 22 RBI. He has also swiped five bases. Young Harris lost its opening pool game in the conference tournament to Georgia College, but then beat Georgia Southwestern and 24th-ranked North Georgia to reach Sunday’s championship game. The Mountain Lions then defeated USC-Aiken 5-2 Sunday to win the tournament and the PBC’s NCAA D-II Tournament automatic bid. Later Sunday night, YHC (35-19) was assigned to the Southeast Regional #2 as the No. 6-seed at Newberry College (SC) where they begin play Thursday against Catawba College (NC).
SAM HOWARD — Albuquerque Isotopes (6th yr. pro; LHP; Triple-A Pacific Coast League; Colorado Rockies’ organization; Georgia Southern University; Cartersville HS)… earned his third hold of the season Friday night in a two-inning relief appearance and 2-1 victory at El Paso. Howard entered in the sixth inning and faced eight batters. He allowed no runs on one hit and one walk in the stint with a pair of strikeouts. Last Monday at Tacoma, Howard faced four batters in the sixth inning and recorded only one out while yielding a pair of earned runs on two hits and a walk with one strikeout in a no-decision and 12-8 loss. Howard has a 1-0 record in 13 relief appearances this season. He has worked just over 20 innings with a 5.31 ERA, 15 walks, and 25 strikeouts. The Isotopes (20-18) are in third place in the PCL’s Pacific Southern Division trailing El Paso by 5 and 1/2 games and Las Vegas by 3 and 1/2 games.
CONNOR JUSTUS — Mobile BayBears (4th yr. pro; SS/2B; Double-A Southern League; L.A. Angels’ organization; Georgia Tech; Cartersville HS)… started four home games last week against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and went 3-for-12 at the plate. For the season, Justus has a .225 batting average in 29 games and 80 at-bats. He has one home run with four RBI and has stolen three bases. Defensively, Justus has started 20 games at shortstop, six at second base, and two at third base with a .961 fielding percentage in 102 total chances. He has been part of 13 double plays turned by the BayBears. Mobile (15-20) is in fourth place in the Southern League’s South Division, 7 and 1/2 games behind the first place Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
ANTHONY SEIGLER — (2nd yr. pro; C; Extended Spring Training, New York Yankees’ organization; Cartersville HS)… the Yankees’ first round selection from last year’s June draft continues to work in the organization’s Tampa site for an expected assignment to the Class A Charleston River Dogs of the South Atlantic League within the next few weeks. He was mentioned in an update by SB Nation’s Aaron Esposito in a Yankees’ 2018 draft class article this week. “For a catcher fresh out of high school, Seigler performed well in his first taste of professional baseball. In 24 games last season, Seigler posted a slash line of .266/.377/.342. He probably won’t hit for power for a few years–if ever–but Seigler is known as a solid defensive backstop, so an indication that he can find ways to get on base is a welcome sign. A quad strain has delayed his first full minor league season, but it will be exciting to monitor his development once he recovers.” The RiverDogs are currently leading their division — that includes the Rome Braves — with a 19-16 record.
TRACK AND FIELD
TERRY BERDIN -- Reinhardt University (Fr., Cartersville HS)... ran the anchor leg, as Reinhardt's 4x100 relay team clinched a national qualifying "B" standard time in the Montreat College Last Chance Twilight meet Thursday. The Eagles placed runner-up in the event, but the more important aspect was finishing in 41.97 seconds, eclipsing the needed time by 0.02 seconds.
SPENCER FIELDS -- Rhodes College (Sr., Kingston native, Darlington HS)... earned the distinction of being named the male track and field athlete of the year by the Southern Athletic Association on Monday, May 6. According to a release announcing the honor, Fields, at the time, held the ninth best 10k time in the nation this season at 30 minutes, 12.48 seconds. He also garnered second-team all-conference honors by placing second in each of the 10k and 5k races at the SAA championships.