Friday, August 15, 2008

Season nears end for Watten, Elkerson

If you haven't been following the first season of professional baseball for former ACU baseball all-America players Trey Watten and Mike Elkerson, you're running out of time.

Watten is playing for the Helena (Mont.) Brewers in the short-season Pioneer Rookie League, while Elkerson is playing for the Danville (Va.) Braves in the short-season Appalachian Rookie League. The Brewers are 6-12 in the second half of the season (26-30 overall), but are still in the chase for a playoff spot.

Billings won the North Division in the first half and has a big lead in the second half, while Orem (Utah) is in the same situation in the South Division. In case both those teams win their respective division titles in the second half, too, Helena and Great Falls are battling for the other playoff spot from the North Division, while Ogden has a half-game lead over Casper for the other spot in the South Division. Great Falls leads Helana by two games for the next-best overall record in the North Division.

Watten's first season has had its ups and downs as he carries a 2-2 record and 5.47 ERA into the weekend. He's appeared in 11 games (10 starts) and has given up 63 hits and 32 runs (30 earned) in 47 innings of work. He's only walked 18 batters and struck out 32, but he's also allowed five home runs.

Because of the work he received at ACU last spring and the short layoff between the end of the Wildcats' season and the start of the Brewers' season, Watten has been on a strick pitch count. As a result he hasn't pitched past the fifth inning in any start this season. In his last start (Thursday night) he gave up six hits and seven earned runs while walking five batters in a loss against the Orem (Utah) Owlz.

Elkerson's first season with the Danville (Va.) Braves will likely conclude next weekend as his team enters Saturday's play 5.5 games out of first place in their division. The Braves have won five straight division titles, but are fading in the second half as the Pulaski (Va.) Mariners have pulled out to a significant lead.

Elkerson has played in 25 games this season and is hitting .218 (19 for 87) with 17 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, one home run and 10 RBI. He's walked seven times and struck out 32 times as he's spent the season adjusting to using a wood bat.

Helena Brewers home page

Danville Braves home page

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