Ex-Lion plays in marathon game

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As glamorous and exciting as Major League Baseball can be, the sport at the minor league level can be grueling over a full season.

Former Augusta Christian and Kennesaw State standout Josh Whitaker played all 17 innings Wednesday night in a one-run loss that lasted three minutes shy of five hours.

"Never been a part of something like that," he said. "And I hope I don't ever again."

Whitaker has had plenty of those "never again" moments playing for the Single-A Burlington Bees in a Midwest League known for poor weather. Five of Burlington's first 14 games were postponed because of rain. Two more were suspended because of wintry weather.

"If it's not 40 degrees, it's raining," he said. "But I'm glad to be on the road with these guys."

After Wednesday night's test of endurance, Whitaker and his teammates had little time to rest, hitting the field fewer than 24 hours later. Whitaker responded with a ninth-inning single and went on to score the game-winning run in a victory over Cedar Rapids.

He went 2 for 4 Friday night with a solo home run.

Whitaker said his off-season training in Augusta, which included work with Robbie Wachman and Ryan Bowers , helped prepare him for the challenges of a full minor league season.

SAL HALL CLASS: The South Atlantic League announced its 2011 Hall of Fame class last week.

Former Gastonia Rangers player Mike Hargrove, former Asheville Tourists manager Ray Hathaway and philanthropist Frank Perdue , the former president and chief executive officer of Perdue Farms, made up the three-person class.

The induction ceremony will be part of the festivities at the 52nd annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Delmarva, Md., on June 21.

JACKETS DODGE CUMPTON: The West Virginia Power will wrap up their second four-game series in Augusta today, but Power pitcher Brandon Cumpton once again won't take the mound at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

The former Greenbrier and Georgia Tech pitcher was originally scheduled to start today's game, but a rainout earlier this week disrupted the starting rotation enough to move Cumpton's start back one day.

He will get the nod Monday when the Power start their series in Charleston, S.C.

Cumpton lost his first three starts with a 23.62 ERA. He was sent to the bullpen, where he threw three hitless innings against Hagerstown on April 25.

The success in relief put Cumpton back into the starting rotation, and he earned his first win at home against Greensboro with a five-inning effort that saw the Grasshoppers manage just one run on five hits. Cumpton walked one and struck out five.


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