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An eventful season for local pros

Nearly 30 players with SCV ties played professional baseball in 2009

Posted: October 7, 2009 10:06 p.m.
Updated: October 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Plain and simple, the Santa Clarita Valley is a baseball hotbed.

Nearly 30 players with ties to the valley played professional baseball in 2009.

Their seasons are now completed.

In 2009, some players saw improvement, some were promoted, some took steps back.

One interesting note was when Major League rosters expanded from 25 to 40 players in September, the only local player that received a promotion was College of the Canyons product Dana Eveland.

Players like Hart grad and former The Master’s College outfielder Jerry Owens, who had a big season in Triple-A, and Canyon grad Chris Seddon did not get brought up. Yet both have prior big-league experience.

Also left in the cold was Hart graduate Chris Valaika, who was considered one of the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospects coming into the season.

Yet there are others who have hope for the future.

Valencia graduates Casey Mulligan and Jared Clark put up big numbers in 2009 and Hart graduate Steve Susdorf saw a pair of promotions.

The play of all these athletes in 2009 sets up an interesting 2010.

Travis Babin - Kingsport Mets (Rookie League), pitcher

The Saugus High graduate went 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Kingsport Mets of the Rookie Appalachian League. He also made five saves. Babin was 0-1 with a 5.74 ERA in 15 games at Kingsport last season.

Phil Bando - Arizona League Angels (Rookie League), second base

The former College of the Canyons player batted .238 (5-for-21) in eight games for the Rookie Arizona League Angels. He also had three RBIs.

Kyle Boggio, Chico Outlaws (Golden Baseball League), pitcher
The Hart High graduate pitched just two innings for the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League. He retired all six batters he faced.

Shane Carlson - Sarasota Reds (Single-A), shortstop
The Hart High graduate batted .212 with 11 RBIs in 49 games between two teams. He batted .210 with eight RBIs in 41 games for the Sarasota Reds of the Class-A Advanced Florida State League.

Jared Clark - Casper Ghosts (Rookie League), first base
The Valencia graduate got off to a great professional start, batting .348 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs in 58 games for the Rookie Pioneer League Casper Ghosts, a minor-league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.

John Curtis - Winston-Salem Dash (Single-A), catcher
The Hart High graduate batted .245 with a home run and 22 RBIs between two teams in 2009. He ended the season batting .212 with a home run and nine RBIs in 30 games with the Single-A Winston-Salem Dash, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. In 2008, he batted .210 with three homers and 19 RBIs.

Nick Enciso - Alexandria Aces (Continental League), catcher
Enciso, a Hart grad, batted .191 with two homers and 25 RBIs for the Alexandria Aces of the independent Continental League.

Dana Eveland - Oakland A’s, pitcher
Eveland was called up in September by the Oakland A’s when rosters expanded to 40. The former College of the Canyons pitcher was 2-4 with a 7.16 ERA in 13 games, nine starts for the A’s. At Triple-A Sacramento for the River Cats, he was 8-6 with a 4.94 ERA in 21 starts.

Kyle Eveland - Sioux Falls Canaries (American Association), third base
The former College of the Canyons infielder batted .266 in 25 games for the Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent American Association. He also had nine RBIs.

Michael Hebert - Gulf Coast Mets (Rookie League), pitcher
Hebert, a Saugus graduate, went 1-3 with a 3.73 ERA in eight games and five starts for the Rookie Gulf Coast League Mets. Last season, he went 2-2 with a 4.71 ERA in nine games for the same team.

Virgil Hill - Gulf Coast Cardinals (Rookie League), outfielder
The Valencia graduate batted .216 with a home run, 22 RBIs, four triples and 11 stolen bases in 51 games for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, a Rookie League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was caught stealing seven times, though.

Tyreace House - Vancouver Canadians (Single-A), outfield
The former College of the Canyons outfielder batted .291 and stole 19 bases for the Vancouver Canadians of the Class-A Short-Season Northwest League. House also scored 31 runs in 56 games for the Oakland A’s affiliate.

Tim Hutting - Sioux Falls Canaries (American Association), shortstop
The Hart High graduate batted .300 with five homers and 33 RBIs in 95 games for the Sioux Falls Canaries of the independent American Association.

Jeff Icenogle - Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (Northern League), pitcher
The Hart High graduate went 3-2 with a 5.23 ERA in seven starts for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the independent Northern League. Icenogle began the season with the Lancaster JetHawks, a Houston Astros affiliate of the Class-A Advanced California League, and went 0-4 with a 6.79 ERA in 19 games before being released in July.

Andrew Lorraine - Orange County Flyers (Golden Baseball League), pitcher
The Hart High graduate made his return to American professional baseball in 2009 with the Golden Baseball League’s Orange County Flyers. Lorraine went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 24 innings in the independent baseball league.

Kevin Millar - Toronto Blue Jays, first base
The former Santa Clarita Valley resident who played baseball at the William S. Hart Baseball complex, batted .223 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 78 games for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 12 big league seasons, he has a .274 average with 170 home runs and 699 RBIs.

Graham Miller - Ogden Raptors (Rookie League), pitcher
The former The Master’s College pitcher was 1-0 with a 4.30 ERA in nine relief appearances for the Rookie Pioneer League’s Ogden Raptors, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tom Milone - Potomac Nationals (Single-A), pitcher
Milone, a Saugus graduate, has a solid season for the Potomac Nationals of the Class-A Advanced Carolina League. He went 12-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 27 games, 25 starts. He was third in the Carolina League in ERA and led the league in victories.

Michael Montgomery - Wilmington Blue Rocks (Single-A), pitcher
A Hart graduate, Montgomery ended the season with the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Class-A Advanced Carolina League. With Wilmington, he was 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in nine starts, striking out 46 batters in 52 innings. Overall, he was 6-4 with a 2.21 ERA in 21 starts, striking out 98 batters in 110 innings.

Casey Mulligan - Springfield Cardinals (Double-A), pitcher
Mulligan, a Valencia graduate, had one of the most interesting years of any local professional player. He made a seamless transition from catcher to relief pitcher and then went 6-2 with a 1.45 ERA in 58 games split between three teams. He also made 16 saves. He ended the season with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals and went 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA and two saves in 15 games. Mulligan was also featured on YouTube video linked to’s “Extra Mustard” section after performing a dance routine to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” during a rain delay this season at Roger Dean Stadium in Palm Beach, Fla.

Jerry Owens - Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A), outfield
After a release from the Chicago White Sox organization, the Hart High graduate and former The Master’s College outfielder thrived with the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers. Owens batted .323 with three home runs and 37 RBIs, stealing 23 bases in 100 games. He was third in the Pacific Coast League in batting average. Overall, he batted .320 in the minor leagues in 102 games. In 12 games with the White Sox, he was 1-for-12 with a stolen base.

Chris Seddon - Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A), pitcher
The Canyon High graduate was 9-8 with a 4.51 ERA in 2009 in 25 games (24 starts). Though his strikeout numbers were down in 2009 — 80 compared to 126 last season — this season was an overall improvement as his ERA was down from 5.09 last season.

James Shields - Tampa Bay Rays, pitcher
Shields, a Hart High graduate, finished his fourth Major League season with the Tampa Bay Rays going 11-12 with a 4.14 ERA. His 219 2/3 innings pitched placed him sixth in the American League. His 167 strikeouts were 11th in the A.L. After four seasons, he is 43-36 with a 4.01 ERA.

Shawn Smith - Gulf Coast Rays (Rookie League), pitcher
The Saugus graduate went 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Rookie Gulf Coast League Rays. In 2008, he was 1-1 with a 7.07 ERA in eight games.

Steve Susdorf - Reading Phillies (Double-A), outfielder
The Hart graduate was promoted twice this season, ending his season with the Double-A Reading Phillies. Overall, he batted .324 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs in 85 games. With Reading, he hit .221 with two homers and seven RBIs in 24 games.

Chris Valaika - Louisville Bats (Triple-A), shortstop
Valaika batted .235 with six home runs and 36 RBIs for the Triple-A Louisville Bats, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. In 2008, the Hart High graduate batted a combined .317 at the Single- and Double-A levels and appeared in the All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium.

Danny Worth - Erie SeaWolves (Double-A), second base
The Valencia graduate batted .229 with 21 doubles and 28 RBIs in 116 games for two clubs in 2009. He batted .239 with 17 doubles and 24 RBIs for the Erie SeaWolves, a Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. In 2008, Worth batted .256 with five homers and 33 RBIs in 80 games.


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