Ex-Pios Turner Hill, Damian Yenzi playing in the MLB Draft League | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo courtesy West Virginia Black Bears Turner Hill, left, and Trenton Thunder’s Damian Yenzi react after an MLB Draft League game last week.

Turner Hill and Damian Yenzi terrorized opposing pitchers at the top of the Marietta College baseball team’s roster this spring.

Now Hill and Yenzi are doing damage in the Major League Baseball Draft League. The MLB Draft League is a summer baseball league that serves as a showcase for college players looking to further their playing career.

Hill made his debut for the West Virginia Black Bears on July 22, leading and playing center field, while Yenzi played his first game for the Trenton Thunder the same day, coming off the bench to play at third aim.

While both players had monster senior years for the Pioneers, which qualified for the Division III World Series this season, Hill and Yenzi were noticed by MLB scouts and offered spots in the Draft League.

Players earn $400 a week and have their room and board covered by the league, and if they play well enough, could potentially be signed with an MLB organization.

Hill recorded his first hit on July 24 in West Virginia’s 7-5 victory over the Frederick Keys. Yenzi received his first hit a day later when Hill’s Black Bears came to town for a three-game set. That same game, Hill started and played center for the Black Bears and went 5-for-5 at the plate and scored four runs in a 17-6 win.

The Thunder got their revenge the next day with a 25-8 win. Yenzi went 2 for 3 and hit a grand slam and four runs scored. Hill, who had the best view in Yenzi’s slam home to left field, went 3 for 6 on the other end.

After a 1-for-9 start at plate with three strikeouts, Hill went 16-for-26 (.615 average) with 10 runs scored and four runs scored while playing stellar outfield defense.

This effort led to Hill being named MLB Draft League Player of the Week. He was one of the best players for the Black Bears to start the second half of the season.

West Virginia is coached by former major leaguer and college graduate Jedd Gyorko, while Yenzi plays for former major leaguer infielder Jeff Manto in Trenton.

Yenzi is batting .273 with a .448 on-base percentage. He has one home run, four RBIs and seven runs scored. He walked four times for just four strikeouts and played exclusively at third base for the Thunder.

Marietta College baseball coach Brian Brewer is thrilled to see his former players take advantage of such an opportunity.

“As far as I’m concerned, they play professional baseball and that’s every kid’s dream,” said Brewer, who noted that the latest trailblazer to get a professional opportunity was pitcher Christian Herstine, a 2016 MC graduate.

“I’m super proud of them, but I’m not really surprised. They are talented children who have had great careers for us. They have worked hard all their career and it is well deserved.

We’ll see where Hill and Yenzi go from here, but for now it’s exciting to see two local athletes getting paid to play the game they love.

Jordan Holland can be contacted at jholland@mariettatimes.com.

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