GREENSBORO (July 3, 2017) – The North Carolina A&T baseball team came one game short of reaching the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship game in 2017. Ahead of fall baseball practice, Aggie baseball players have spread out through the country to get more batting and pitching reps to play for the MEAC championship in 2018.
Twenty Aggie baseball players are active in six different summer collegiate baseball leagues. Summer collegiate baseball leagues typically use wooden bats.
Coastal Plain League
The Coastal Plain League features 15 teams across Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. There are 10 Aggies playing for three different teams in the CPL. Six of those players are pitchers including Aggies weekend starter Marcello Betances (6-foot-2, 205, SR RHP, Raleigh, N.C.). Betances has made six starts for the Wilson Tobs, which is tied for the league lead. His 34.1 innings pitched ranks him third in the league. K.J. McAlister (5-11, 175, R-SR, RHP, Greensboro, N.C.) is also pitching well for the Tobs. Out of the bullpen, McAlister has pitched 7.1 innings over nine separate appearances where he has posted a 2.45 ERA. Hitters are only hitting .200 against McAlister.
Position players have also done well in the summer thus far. At the time of this posting, Dawnoven Smith (6-1, 190, JR, OF, Jacksonville, N.C.) is third on the Tobs and 11th in the CPL in batting at .296. Ryne Stanley (6-0, 190, SO, C, High Point, N.C.) is hitting .271 with a .411 on-base percentage thanks to earning 10 walks. Other players playing in the CPL include Asheboro Copperheads Leon Hunter (6-4, 210, JR, RHP, Garner, N.C.) and Jonah Owenby (6-1, 180, SR, LHP, Fort Myers, Fla.), the High Point Thomasville Hitoms (second-team All-MEAC) Brandon Melendez (5-9, 175, SS, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Matt Stanley (6-2, 170, JR, LHP, Trinity, N.C.) and Josh Stikeleather (6-0, 175, SR, RHP, Four Oaks, N.C.) and the Tobs also feature A.J. Hunt (5-11, 195, R-JR, 3B, Chesapeake, Va.).
Florida Collegiate Summer League
Two freshmen who showed they have tremendous futures as Aggies play for the Leesburg Lightning of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. Michael Johnson (5-11, 190, SO, RHP, Lexington, N.C.) and Camden Williamson (5-8, 180, SO, OF, Greensboro, N.C.) are having great summers. Johnson became a weekend pitcher during his first season at N.C. A&T. As a Lightning member, Johnson is 1-0 with 0.82 ERA in 22 innings pitched. Johnson is second in the league in ERA.
Meanwhile, Williamson is batting .378 with a .509 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging percentage. He is second in the league in batting and he has not made an error in 17 games.
Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League
The Carolina-Virginia Collegiate League offers college players the opportunity to play over 40 regular season games during the summer and concludes with a postseason championship tournament. There are four Aggies playing in the CVCL. Leon Davidson (6-0, 185, SO, RHP, Huntersville, N.C.) is playing for the Mooresville Spinners. Davidson's productive summer includes a 2.84 ERA over 19 innings pitched. He has 21 strikeouts versus 12 walks, and he has made 13 appearances with one start. Joey Hill (6-1, 200, R-SO, INF, Charlotte, N.C.) and Justin Williams (6-1, 175, R-FR, INF, Charlotte, N.C.) are members of the Charlotte Crushers, while Jason Jenkins (6-2, 180, R-FR, RHP, Winston-Salem, N.C.) has made appearances for the Kernersville Bulldogs.
The Northwoods League has 20 teams in the Upper Midwest from Battle Creek, Michigan to Bismarck, North Dakota, and each has a 30-man roster. Milton Rivera (5-8, 175, SR, INF, Humacao, Puerto Rico), an All-MEAC performer during his career, and Josh Bottenfield (6-2, 180, R-SR, RHP, Concord, N.C.) play for the Wisconsin Woodchucks. Rivera is hitting .270 with three doubles and two RBI while playing second base. Bottenfield has 11 appearances with two starts. Bottenfield is 2-2 with 14 strikeouts up against just six walks.
Southern Collegiate Baseball League and California Collegiate League
Jarrett Norman (5-10, 175, JR, C, Matthews, N.C.) is playing in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League for the SBA Bones, while Greg White (6-1, 190, SR, OF, Greensboro, N.C.) who was a second-team All-MEAC selection in 2017, plays for Arroyo Seco Saints of the California Collegiate League. The SCBL is a wooden bat summer baseball league consisting of six collegiate level teams. The CCL is headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif. They play a 39-game schedule including a North vs. South All-Star Game.