Athletes Beyond Bartow: COVID-19 concerns halt college softball, baseball
Needless to say, the COVID-19 situation has made a huge impact on sports across the country. As a result, the NCAA has cancelled all its remaining championships. There will be no national championships in any of the NCAA winter sports that had not completed nor 2020 spring sports. The NAIA and NJCAA have yet to cancel their championships, but continue to monitor the fluid situation amid Coronavirus concerns and have suspended competitions. (EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally released Sunday evening. Monday, the NAIA cancelled the remainder of the 2020 Spring Sports schedules and championships.)
Some conferences have suspended play and have announced the continued monitoring of the situation. Other conferences have simply cancelled the remainder of their 2019-20 seasons. The responses of conferences, colleges, and universities have varied across all levels.
This week’s college softball and college baseball ‘Athletes Beyond Bartow’ update includes the few games that were completed through last Wednesday and strives to update information on our local players and their season's status.
COLBI BALLARD — Shorter University (Fr., OF, Cartersville HS).. picked up her first collegiate base hit in a 1-for-3 performance that included a stolen base, but the Hawks fell in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Georgia Southwestern 2-1. Shorter was 2-16 overall and 1-8 in the Gulf South Conference when the remainder of the season was cancelled.
SKYLAR CHAPPELL — Cottey College (Fr., DH, Woodland HS)… was 1-for-9 with one RBI when the season was halted. The Comets started the season with a 12-4 mark.
PRESLEY EDWARDS — Wesleyan College (Fr., C, Cartersville HS)… went 2-for-6 last Tuesday as the Wolves split a doubleheader at Middle Georgia State. Wesleyan was 5-5 for the season and had not started conference play with the season was halted. Edwards was batting .304 with three RBI through the first ten games.
SARAH FOX — Agnes Scott University (So., SS, Cass HS)… through nine games this season, Fox had a .524 batting average with three RBI and five stolen bases. The Scotties were 2-8 when the remainder of the season was cancelled.
HANNAH KNAPP — Talladega College (Sr., C/UT, Adairsville HS)… although her team is winless on the season, Knapp has appeared in five games with a .462 batting average and one RBI in 13 at-bats.
PARIS POSTON — Columbus State University (So., OF, Cartersville HS)… in four starts last week, Poston was 2-for-10 with a walk as the Cougars went 3-1 splitting a home doubleheader with University of Montevallo and taking two games from USC-Aiken to open Peach Belt Conference action. Through the first 22 games, Poston had a .317 batting average in 60 at-bats with six extra base hits including two home runs and 11 RBI. Columbus State was 14-9 overall and 2-0 in the PBC when the remainder of the 2020 season was cancelled.
HANNAH TODD — Kansas University (Jr., P, Cartersville HS)… did not appear in either of the Jayhawks two games last week at 20th-ranked Arkansas. She had started one game and appeared in six with a 1-1 record with 4.1 innings pitched when the season was stopped. Kansas was 13-13 overall and had not started play in the Big 12.
LEVI AYERS — Georgia Highlands College (So., RHP, Cartersville HS)… made seven appearances with a 3.38 ERA and 14 strikeouts across eight innings pitched through the Chargers first 25 games. GHC was 21-4 when the season was suspended until at least March 30.
MASON BARNETT — Auburn University (Fr., RHP, Cartersville HS)… worked the final two and two-thirds innings last Tuesday in a 6-2 home loss to Georgia Tech. He gave up one, unearned run with a hit batsman and five strikeouts. For the season, Barnett made six relief appearances with no record and a 3.52 ERA in 7.2 innings pitched. He fanned 16 and opponents were hitting only .192 against him. Auburn (13-5) was yet to begin Southeastern Conference play when the season was halted.
BAILEY CAMPBELL — Young Harris College (Jr., 1B, Cass HS)… had a appeared in eight games with three starts through the Mountain Lions’ first 18 games. He had one hit in nine official at-bats, but had drawn four walks, was hit by a pitch three times, and had one sacrifice for a .500 on-base percentage. Young Harris was 9-9 overall and 3-6 in Peach Belt Conference play when the remainder of the season was cancelled.
JAKE COLLUM — Snead State CC (Fr., RHP, Cass HS)… has appeared in three games tossing 4.1 innings with a 4.15 ERA and a 1-1 record. The Parsons are 15-3 for the season and 4-0 in the Alabama Community College Conference with play suspended until at least April 3.
CLIFTON DEMPSEY — Toccoa Falls College (Sr., Inf., Cartersville HS)… went 2-for-5 with one RBI and stole a base last Tuesday in an 11-3 loss at Point University. Dempsey has a .364 batting average in 17 starts with five RBI. The Screamin’ Eagles are 5-12 with all games cancelled until at least April 3.
CARRINGTON EVANS — Augusta University (Jr., OF, Cartersville HS)… went 1-for-5 at the plate last Wednesday in a 12-9 loss to Mars Hill. Evans has played in 19 of the Jaguars first 20 games with a .183 batting average, one home run, and six RBI in 77 plate appearances. Augusta was 4-16 at the time of the suspension of play. LANE GRIFFITH — University of West Georgia (Sr., C, Adairsville HS)… went without a hit last Wednesday in a loss at 11th-ranked Columbus State. Through 20 games this season, Griffith has a .210 batting average and six RBI in 72 plate appearances with a .315 on-base percentage. The Wolves were 13-7 overall and 8-4 in the Gulf South Conference when play was suspended. HUNTER HICE — Georgia College (So., Inf., Adairsville HS)… appeared in seven games and had 23 official at-bats before the Bobcats’ season was cancelled. Hice had a .304 batting average with one home run and one RBI. 22nd ranked Georgia College was 13-2 overall and 9-2 in Peach Belt Conference action when the season was halted.
KENNY JINKS — Shorter University (So., LHP, Woodland HS)… made five relief appearances for the Hawks in their first 19 games. Jinks worked six innings, allowing four earned runs for a 6.00 ERA with no decisions and opponents batting .250 against him. Shorter was 14-5 for the season and 3-5 in the Gulf South Conference when action was suspended. LOGAN MARTIN — Sewanee: University of the South (Fr., RHP, Cartersville HS)… before suspension of games, Martin had made five starts for the Tigers. He has worked 20.1 innings with a 1-2 record. Martin has a 4.87 ERA and 27 strikeouts. Sewanee has a 10-5-1 overall record and is 1-2 in Southern Athletic Association play as of Friday’s suspension. HARRISON OSBORN — Point University (Jr., RHP, Cartersville HS)… worked one inning last Tuesday in an 11-3 win over visiting Toccoa Falls College. Osborn allowed one earned run on two hits. He struck out one in the eighth inning. For the season, Osborn has one start in six appearances. He has worked 12 innings with a 2.25 ERA and seven strikeouts. With play suspended until at least April 6, the Skyhawks are 13-4 on the season and 4-2 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
B.J. ROPER — Truett-McConnell University (Fr., OF, Adairsville HS)… had a seventh inning, infield single in his first collegiate at-bat Wednesday as the Bears beat visiting Southern Wesleyan 11-1. With the season currently suspended until at least April 6, the Bears are 12-11 overall and 4-2 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
DEVIN WARNER — Grayson CC (So., OF, Cartersville HS)… went 1-for-6 with a double, a pair of walks, scored three runs, and drove in three runs in a doubleheader sweep Wednesday of Ranger CC. With NJCAA competitions suspended through at least April 3, Warner has a .268 batting average in his first 18 games with the Vikings. He has five homers and 16 RBI for a slugging percentage of .661 and an on-base percentage of .414. Grayson is currently 16-3 overall and 2-0 in North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference action.
PRESTON WELCHEL — University of South Alabama (Fr., OF, Cartersville HS)… has seen action in nine games, starting three times as the Jaguars have started 8-10 this season. Welchel has a .118 batting average in 17 official at-bats. The Sun Belt Conference announce Friday it has suspended play indefinitely.
CAUY WILLIAMS — Wallace State-Dothan CC (So., RHP, Woodland HS)… has made five appearances this season working 6.2 innings with a 10.50 ERA. He is 1-0 with 10 strikeouts. The NJCAA has suspended all play in spring sports through at least April 3. Wallace State-Dothan is 13-9 overall and 4-2 in the Alabama Community College Athletic Conference.
Sam Howard (Pittsburgh Pirates; Cartersville) — Howard pitched a clean seventh inning in Pittsburgh's final spring training game for at least the next few months. After a strikeout to open the inning Thursday against Toronto, the southpaw worked around a single and a passed ball with a pair of popouts in foul territory. Government recommendations about COVID-19 has led MLB to postpone Opening Day indefinitely.
Connor Justus (Los Angeles Angels; Cartersville) — Justus came on as a defensive replacement at shortstop in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 3-1 loss Tuesday to Seattle. It marked the last game of spring training for the Angels before the MLB season was suspended due to concerns over coronavirus.
Elijah Robinson (Atenas Cordoba, Argentina league; Excel Christian) — Robinson recorded 16 minutes off the bench in Atenas' only game last week. He scored five points and pulled down six rebounds in a 90-71 win over Penarol last Monday.
Ashton Hagans (Kentucky, Cartersville native) — Last week, the SEC tournament canceled play after the opening night, and the NCAA announced there would be no March Madness. Hagans had sat out Kentucky's regular-season finale for what head coach John Calipari deemed "personal reasons." Calipari had said Hagans would return for the conference tournament, but that was never determined, as the top-seeded Wildcats weren't able to participate in the abbreviated tourney in Nashville, Tennessee. Now, it's possible Hagans has played his final game for Kentucky. Hagans — who averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game — was named to the SEC's all-defensive team last week.