by Jim Holland
Two members of the current Longwood University baseball team, first baseman / outfielder Justin Mitchell and outfielder Ryan Shull, have signed contracts to play for the West Virginia Miners during the 2017 Prospect League season. Their signings were announced by the team on February 8 as the eighth and ninth of the many individual contract signings expected to be periodically unveiled by the Beckley, WV based team over the next several months.
Both players will be in their junior years but will be playing their first collegiate season for the Farmville, VA based university in 2017 as they transferred in from different community college baseball programs. Longwood University is a NCAA Division I school and is a member of the ten-team Big South Conference.
Mitchell, a resident of Alpine, CA, had a breakout year in 2016 during his second of two seasons playing for Grossmont (CA) Community College. His 2016 season saw him appear in 43 games for Grossmont and hit for a .303 batting average that included three homers and 33 RBI to go along with 14 doubles and four triples. The 21-year old Mitchell’s consistency at the plate was evident as he also recorded 14 multi-hit games during the campaign. The 6-3, 205 pounder, who is expected to be competing for starting time at Longwood, excelled in three sports (baseball, basketball, football) as a high schooler at Granite Hills (CA) High School.
Shull, a 6-2, 185 lb. resident of Mount Pleasant, IA will bring speed to the Miners outfield as in addition to baseball he set three school records in track for his hometown high school while competing primarily in the 200 meter and 400 meter sprints as well as the 4 x 100 meter relay. On the diamond, he has appeared in 54 games over the 2015 and 2016 seasons at Indian Hills (IA) Community College, where he sparkled particularly with the bat in 2015, logging a .283 batting average. He will be celebrating his 22nd birthday while wearing a Miners baseball uniform on June 8, 2017.
The Prospect League is the premier collegiate wood bat summer baseball league in the Midwest. It has been operating in its current form since 2009 while serving the summer baseball needs of top collegiate players. The 2016 Prospect League title won by the Miners was the team’s third league championship in the last five seasons.
Season-long box seats and other ticket packages for the West Virginia Miners are already on sale for the 2017 Prospect League season, which begins on May 30 while the Miners home opener will be on June 1 versus the Butler (PA) Blue Sox. Persons needing more information on the Miners can contact the team either by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 304-252-7233.