Sixteen years ago, a young Madison Younginer gathered with his fellow 5-year-olds for his first step into organized baseball with a T-ball game at North Augusta’s Riverview Park.
Younginer’s journey will come full circle today when he takes the mound at Lake Olmstead Stadium as the starting pitcher for the Greenville Drive.
The 21-year-old Boston Red Sox prospect is a North Augusta native. Though he moved away shortly after his T-ball playing days and competed at the high school level in Simpsonville, S.C., Younginer said he still considers the Augusta area a familiar place. His father graduated from North Augusta High, and his grandfather has served as a Methodist minister in the area for years.
“North Augusta feels as home as any place to me,” he said. “We go there every year for Easter and Thanksgiving and other family-related things. So it’s nice to be able to come here and play here.”
Younginer will take on the Augusta GreenJackets at 2:05 this afternoon in the finale of a five-game series. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-hander is 1-3 with a 4.85 ERA through his first six appearances this year, his first at the full-season level. He gave up four runs in three innings to the GreenJackets a month ago in Greenville, but will have a little extra motivation on his side this time around.
“It’ll be nice to have family here,” he said. “I’ll get to see my grandma and mom on Mother’s Day. You don’t get to do that a lot in my profession.”
SETBACK: Former Greenbrier High and University of Georgia star Rich Poythress hit a snag in his second year of Double-A play last week. The Seattle Mariners prospect was placed on the 7-day disabled list Thursday because of a sprained left foot.
Poythress, now two years removed from leading the minors with 130 RBI in the Advanced-A California League, struggled in Double-A last year but has shown improvement the second time around.
Before the injury, the 24-year-old first baseman was hitting .259 with 10 doubles, 18 RBI and only 14 strikeouts in 31 games for the Jackson Generals in the Southern League.
NEW CLASS: The South Atlantic League announced its 2012 Hall of Fame induction class last week.
Charleston, S.C. mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., well-known actor Bill Murray and former Asheville Tourists front office executive Carolyn McKee will be honored by the league for their contributions, according to a statement from the league.
The three new members will be officially welcomed into the hall of fame during the league’s All-Star festivities June 19 in Charleston.