Members visited a new minor league ballpark in Fort Wayne, Ind., on June 22 and are discussing potential trips to view stadiums in Greenville, S.C., Greensboro, N.C., and Charlotte, N.C., according to the Savannah Morning News.
“This is one of the biggest decisions we’ll make for our community in our lifetime,” mayor pro tem Van Johnson told the newspaper. “So obviously, the more opportunity we have to look at facilities the better to help us in our process as we evaluate the needs of our community.”
Five years ago this month Augusta city leaders took multiple out of town trips to get a vision for a plan proposed to put a downtown stadium along the Savannah River, though little progress has been made on moving beyond a planning stage.
Minor League Baseball in Savannah, the home of the New York Mets’ Single-A affiliate, currently plays at Historic Grayson Stadium, which originally opened in 1926 and has undergone several renovations over the past 86 years.
MOVING ON: Former Lakeside High School star Sean Harrell retired from professional baseball last week. The 25-year-old outfielder was in his second season with the independent Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League.
Harrell said he retired to pursue a career in the medical field.
“I’m getting older in professional baseball terms, and it’s tough because it’s like you’re chasing two dreams,” Harrell told The Daily Republican. “At some point, one of them has to cave a little bit.”
Harrell earned a degree in biology and pre-med from Georgia College and State University and will enter medical school this summer. He posted a .250 batting average with eight RBI and seven extra-base hits in 31 games for the Miners this season.
BACK ON TRACK: After returning to rookie ball for a rehab assignment, former Greenbrier High School and University of Georgia star Rich Poythress has found success again at the Double-A level.
The 24-year-old first baseman left the Jackson Generals in early May and missed all of June before returning to the Southern League on July 2.
Poythress entered Saturday’s play on a nine-game hitting streak. He left the team with a .259 batting average but has elevated it to .295 in only 10 games.
ALUMNI CHECK: Former Augusta GreenJackets first baseman Josh Mazzola continued his quality season in his first year of independent ball.
Mazzola, 26, gave the Winnipeg Goldeyes their fifth consecutive win Thursday night with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.
He entered the weekend hitting .304 with 31 RBI and eight home runs in 50 games with first-place Winnipeg.
BULLPEN BLOOM: South Aiken High School product Andrew Faulkner has turned into a reliable reliever for the South Atlantic League’s Hickory Crawdads.
Faulkner, in his first full season of professional baseball, entered Saturday’s game with an 11-inning scoreless streak spanning his past four appearances.
The Crawdads are scheduled to come to Augusta next week when the GreenJackets play host to Hickory in a three-game series starting July 27.