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Athletes Beyond Bartow: Howard continues strong showing with Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates sit at the bottom of the National League Central division standings — albeit just 5.5 games back of the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.

Responsibility for that slow start, through 40 games entering play Tuesday, doesn't fall on the shoulders of Cartersville High product Sam Howard. That might sound like bias towards the hometown kid, but it's certainly backed up by the numbers.

Howard, a left-handed reliever, sits 2-2 on the season. However, pitching record rarely tells the whole story, and that's certainly the case in this instance.

Across 19 appearances, spanning 13 1/3 innings, Howard holds a 3.38 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 21 strikeouts. Opposing hitters are batting just .114 against him this season.

Over the past week, the former Colorado Rockies hurler tossed 1 2/3 scoreless frames, allowing no hits and two walks. Howard struck out four batters, including striking out the side in the sixth inning of a win over San Francisco Friday at home.


Sam Howard (Pittsburgh Pirates; 8th-year pro; Cartersville HS) — Howard made a pair of scoreless appearances at home against the Cincinnati Reds last Tuesday and Wednesday. He added a scoreless inning Friday at home against the San Francisco Giants, striking out the side in the sixth inning of an eventual 3-2 win. The lefty is 2-2 in 19 appearances, covering 13 1/3 innings. He has 21 strikeouts and a 3.38 ERA with opponents limited to a .114 batting average against him.

Connor Justus (Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Miami Marlins organization; 6th-year pro; Cartersville HS) — Justus managed only one hit and had one RBI in five home games last week against the Birmingham Barons. The Blue Wahoos (6-6) were 2-4 for the week. Justus is 3-for-30 with two RBIs in Pensacola’s first 12 games.


Mason Barnett (Auburn So., Cartersville HS) — Barnett worked two innings in the Tigers’ 11-9 home loss Saturday to Texas A&M. Barnett faced 11 batters, allowing three earned runs on one hit, one walk and three hit batsmen. He struck out three. Auburn (22-25, 8-19) won two of three against the Aggies and went 2-2 for the week. The Tigers were slated to host North Alabama Tuesday before traveling to Missouri for a three-game series Thursday through Saturday.

Clifton Dempsey (Toccoa Falls Sr., Cartersville HS) — Dempsey went 4-for-10 with a double, walk, run scored, stolen base and two RBIs in the final three games of the National Christian College Athletic Association South Region tournament last Tuesday through Thursday. The Screaming Eagles (15-24) finished as runner-up to Columbia International but received a bid to the NCCAA World Series as the No. 10 seed Friday through next Tuesday in Easley, South Carolina.


A.J. Mosby (Shreveport Mavericks; 3rd year pro; Cartersville HS) — Mosby racked up 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in a 153-115 drubbing of Wichita Midtown Prestige Friday at home.


Havyn Isaac (Georgia Military So., Adairsville HS) — Isaac secured one save in a 3-0 shutout win Thursday at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. She posted five saves in a 1-0 loss against Gordon State Sunday at home. The defeat came in the semifinals of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, as second-seeded Georgia Military finished the season 6-3-1 overall and 6-2-1 in the league.


Skylar Chappell (Cottey College So., Woodland HS) — The Comets received an at-large bid in the NAIA National Tournament and will open play in the Waleska Regional against Oregon Tech at noon Friday at Reinhardt University. The regional also includes Coastal Georgia and Reinhardt. The winner of the four-team, double-elimination bracket advances to the NAIA National Championship Tournament May 27-June 2 in Columbus, Georgia.


Stephen Smith (Kennesaw State So., Cass HS) — Smith placed fifth in the pole vault at the ASUN Outdoor Championships Friday in Jacksonville, Florida.

— Nicholas Sullivan of The Daily Tribune News contributed to this report.


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