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Sports

April 18, 2014

Greenville catcher Justin Koger signs with Arkansas-Little Rock

GREENVILLE —   A switch in positions has helped Greenville senior baseball player Justin Koger advance his career.

  Koger, who has signed a letter of intent with the University of Arkansa at Little Rock, began his baseball career with the Greenville Lions as a shortstop, pitcher and third baseman.

  “He played third base his freshman year and played third base the whole first half and then moved to catcher at the end of his second year,” said Lions coach Cody Salyers. “His junior year was the first full year behind the plate.”

  Salyers said “catcher is the spot for him” because “he has plenty of tools.”

  Koger’s fielding percentage at catcher this season is a stellar .986 with 139 putouts and only two errors.

  He’s also batting .449 for the season with 31 hits, including nine doubles, a triple, two homers and 17 runs batted in.

  Koger finds various ways to get on base. He’s drawn 11 walks and has been hit by eight pitches. His on-base percentage is .545.

  Koger, who plans to major in biology, will be achieving one longtime goal when he gets to play college baseball.

  “Playing (NCAA) Division I has always been a goal of mine and it feels good to finally realize my dream,” he said at his signing ceremony. “I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

  Koger’s also played for three select baseball teams: the D-Bat Mustangs, the D-FW Twins and the Texas Senators.

  He grew up playing youth league baseball in Greenville for a team called the Lions. One of the coaches for that team, Heath Jarvis, joined Koger for the signing ceremony.

  Salyers said Koger should do well in college.

  “He’s got a good work ethic,” said Salyers. “He figured it out after the last couple of years. I think he’ll make Greenville proud out there.”

  Koger said he “feels like” he’s ready for the next level.

  “I’ve excelled at every level I’ve played,” he said. “I hope that, and I’m confident that, I can do the same in college.”

  There are five Texans currently on  the Trojans’ roster. Arkansas-Little Rock competes in the Sun Belt Conference against Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State, Texas State, Texas-Arlington, Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe, Troy (Ala.), South Alabama and Georgia State.

 

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