PULASKI, Va. - After spending the 2022 season with the River Turtles, pitcher Avery Mabe and outfielder Connor Fuhrman will return to Calfee Park for the 2023 campaign.
Mabe, a graduate of George Wythe High School in Wytheville, Va., enjoyed the added benefit of playing close to home last season.
“It was great to be close to home,” Mabe said. “It felt like every night I pitched, there were a ton of people from back home that came out to support me and I saw a lot of familiar faces… it was pretty comforting to see.”
In eight starts for the Turtles last season, Mabe posted a 4.91 ERA in 40.1 innings pitched, accounting for the most innings pitched in the Pulaski rotation.
“The biggest thing for me was getting reps,” Mabe said. “I missed my first year at college with an injury and didn’t get to play much my second year… so getting reps was a big focus for me.”
Mabe is in his third year with the University of Virginia and looks to further his development this season with the River Turtles.
Connor Fuhrman, a Botetourt native, returns to the Turtles as well and is excited to play in front of the passionate fanbase that fills the seats of Calfee Park.
“I loved playing in Pulaski,” Fuhrman said. “We had some of the better and more consistent fans of most of the teams in the Appalachian League… it was really fun and I’m looking forward to getting back there this summer.”
While committed to play at South Carolina the following Spring, Fuhrman, a recent graduate of Lord Botetourt High School, had not seen any collegiate action upon arriving in Pulaski one season ago. His time in the Appalachian League further prepared him for the challenges that laid ahead.
“Something that Pulaski really helped me with was preparing for college baseball,” Fuhrman said. “The long days, the rain delays, playing late at night, traveling… that really helped me. I’ve really realized the similarities between college baseball and summer ball.”
Following a spring season full of growth, Fuhrman looks to bring the momentum he has built this season in Columbia with the Gamecocks back to Pulaski.
“I did a lot of work on my swing,” Fuhrman said. “I had a really good Spring…I’m excited to carry that over and continue to keep improving in Pulaski.”
Fuhrman is also excited to be reunited with manager Clark Crist.
“He’s a pretty laid-back coach,” Fuhrman said. “He taught me how to bring a calm demeanor to the game and that was a valuable lesson.”
Mabe, Fuhrman and plenty of new faces will trot out onto Motor Mile Field at Calfee Park on June 8, when the Turtles play their home opener against the Danville Otterbots.