Athletes Beyond Bartow: Justus debuts with Marlins organization
Due to restructuring and COVID-19 continuing to impact schedules, the minor league baseball season finally got underway this past week.
Former Cartersville High standout Connor Justus made his debut with the Miami Marlins organization, seeing action in all six games of Double-A Pensacola's opening series against Mississippi. Justus recorded just two hits but managed to draw five walks for an impressive .400 on-base percentage.
Elsewhere, a pair of former Canes started the first MiLB season since 2019 on the injured list. Anthony Seigler, a catcher in the New York Yankees farm system, is on the 7-day IL, while Elliott Anderson, a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization, is on the 60-day list.
Elliott Anderson (Columbia Fireflies, 3rd yr. pro; Kansas City Royals organization; Cartersville HS) — The left-handed pitcher has been assigned by the Royals to their Low Class-A affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina, but is currently on the 60-day injured list.
Sam Howard (Pittsburgh Pirates; 8th yr. pro; Cartersville HS) — Howard retired the third out of the sixth inning last Tuesday and was credited with his sixth hold of the year in the Pirates’ 2-1 win at San Diego. He then suffered the pitching loss after giving up an earned run on a walk in a seventh-inning appearance Saturday at Chicago. Howard walked Jason Heyward but then struck out the next two batters. He was then lifted, and Heyward later scored the go-ahead run on a single. The Cubs won the game 3-2. For the season, the lefty is 2-2 in 16 relief appearances with a 3.86 ERA.
Connor Justus (Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 6th yr. pro; Miami Marlins organization; Cartersville HS) — In a season-opening, six-game series at the Mississippi Braves, Justus was 2-for-14 at the plate. He scored one run, drew five walks and drove in one run. The Blue Wahoos won four of the six games to grab the early lead in their division.
Luke Schiltz (AZL Rangers, Texas Rangers organization; 3rd yr. pro; Cartersville native; Stoneman Douglas HS) — Schiltz has been assigned to the Rangers’ Arizona League developmental roster.
Anthony Seigler (Hudson Valley Renegades, 4th-yr. pro; New York Yankees organization; Cartersville HS) — The Renegades split a six-game series at the Jersey Shore BlueClaws last Tuesday through Sunday without Seigler. The 21-year-old catcher was placed on the Hudson Valley 7-day injured list last Thursday.
Levi Ayers (Young Harris So., Cartersville HS) — Ayers did not secure an out and was the pitcher of record in the Mountain Lions’ rubber game Peach Belt Conference playoff loss Sunday at 24th-ranked North Georgia. Ayers yielded a hit and a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, as North Georgia won 12-10 to advance to the PBC finals. Ayers appeared in 12 games this season and worked 16 innings with a 9.56 ERA. Young Harris finished the year with a 23-18 record.
Mason Barnett (Auburn So., Cartersville HS) — Inserted to pitch the ninth inning Friday in Auburn’s 8-3 home loss to LSU, Barnett faced five batters and gave up one earned run on two hits. He struck out two. Auburn (20-23, 6-18 SEC) was scheduled to play Tuesday at Samford and host Texas A&M in a three-game conference series Friday through Sunday.
Clifton Dempsey (Toccoa Falls Sr., Cartersville HS) — Dempsey went 4-for-4, including one double and one RBI, in Monday’s 17-8 home win over Carolina University in the National Christian College Athletic Association South Region Tournament. The Screaming Eagles shortstop also scored one run. TFC (14-24) advances in the tournament, which continues through Wednesday’s championship game.
Lane Griffith (West Georgia Sr., Adairsville HS) — Griffith went 1-for-7 in the Wolves’ conference tournament losses to West Florida and Shorter. Griffith finished the season with a .293 batting average. He hit two home runs and had 19 RBIs. West Georgia finished the year with an 18-23 record.
Kenny Jinks (Shorter So., Woodland HS) — Jinks allowed a hit but retired the final out of the ninth inning in the Hawks’ 9-5 conference tournament loss Sunday to Alabama-Huntsville in Oxford. Shorter (27-15) went 1-2 in the Gulf South Conference tournament and must now wait for a possible NCAA Tournament at-large bid to be announced Sunday.
Havyn Isaac (Georgia Military So., Adairsville HS) — Isaac helped the Bulldogs to a pair of victories last week at home. She recorded two saves in a 5-2 triumph over Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College last Monday and didn’t even need to make a stop in a 3-0 victory against Gordon State last Wednesday.
Skylar Chappell (Cottey College So., Woodland HS) — The Comets went 2-2 at the Association of Independent Institutions Softball Championship, falling twice to Georgia Gwinnett College, but also collecting one tournament win over the Grizzlies and one over Edward Waters College (Florida) in the double-elimination event. Chappell had only one plate appearance during the tournament and finished the year with a .345 batting average in 31 plate appearances. She hit four homers and added 13 RBIs. Cottey finished the year with a 27-11 record and a runner-up finish in the A.I.I. Championship Tournament.
Lauren McElhaney (West Georgia Fr., Cartersville HS) — The Wolves went 2-2 in the double-elimination Gulf South Conference Championship Tournament to end their season. McElhaney had just one at-bat in the tournament. It came in a loss to top-seeded Auburn-Montgomery. The freshman had only six official at-bats this season with a triple and three RBIs. West Georgia finished the regular season with a 25-16 mark and is currently ranked No. 8 in the Southeast Region. The Wolves have hopes of receiving an NCAA Tournament bid when the 48-team field is announced next Monday.
Hannah Todd (Kansas Sr., Cartersville HS) — Todd made an appearance in the circle in all three losses for the Jayhawks over the weekend to Iowa State. Todd gave up an earned run (two total) on four hits and a walk in Friday’s loss. She struck out three. On Saturday, she was tagged with the pitching loss after being entered in the seventh inning in a 5-4 loss to the Cyclones. Todd allowed one earned run on one hit and one walk. Sunday, she retired the final two outs of the seventh inning in a 12-4 loss. The right-handed pitcher allowed one earned run on two hits. In her senior regular season, Todd made 15 appearances with a 3.67 ERA in 21 innings. Kansas wrapped up the Big 12 schedule with a 22-26 overall record and a 2-16 mark in the conference. The conference tournament is Friday and Saturday in Oklahoma City with only the top six teams qualifying for the event.
TRACK AND FIELD
Trevor Knowles (Albion Sr., Woodland HS) — Knowles recorded four top-six finishes, including three solo performances, to help Albion come in third at the MIAA Championships Friday in Alma, Michigan. The former Wildcats standout placed runner-up in the triple jump. Elsewhere, Knowles wound up fifth in the long jump and sixth in the high jump. He also helped the Britons to a third-place finish in the 4x100-meter relay.
— Nicholas Sullivan of The Daily Tribune News contributed to this report.