Sep. 6—Three minor league pitchers with area ties earned promotions to the Double-A clubs within their respective organizations for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Windber High School and Pitt-Johnstown graduate Braxton Roxby moved up to the Chattanooga Lookouts from the high Class A Dayton Dragons in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Roxby pitched Martella's Pharmacy to a semifinal round victory as the Johnstown franchise won the city's first AAABA Tournament crown in 2018.
Ferndale Area High School and Mount St. Mary's University graduate Trey McGough, another former Martella's Pharmacy hurler, joined Pitt-Johnstown graduate Dylan Heid, as both pitchers were promoted to the Bowie Baysox from the Class A Aberdeen Ironbirds in the Baltimore Orioles system.
"It's a great reward for them," said Pitt-Johnstown baseball coach Todd Williams, who most recently had Roxby on his staff during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season and Heid in 2021.
"Braxton, a local kid from Windber who worked so hard," Williams said. "He has really done a great job with getting his body in shape and doing everything he needs to do. He has a 95-plus miles-an-hour fastball. He has a knockout slider. He has his control to where he gets a lot of outs."
Roxby, 24, went 4-4 with a 2.96 ERA in 54 2/3 innings at Dayton this summer. He had four saves with 67 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP.
The 6-foot-3 right-hander is in his third minor league season and has a combined 9-6 record with 12 saves.
"Braxton Roxby is a guy that started off very raw," said former Martella's Pharmacy manager Jesse Cooper. "You could see he was talented and had a live arm. I put him in a lot of difficult situations out of high school to see what he had. He stepped up to the plate.
"He hit the weight room hard. He's a guy who carried himself like a professional all the time. It's great to see him grow into the mature player he is today."
Drafted by the Orioles in the 11th round in 2021, Heid made 30 appearances and went 5-2 with a 2.55 ERA in 42 1/3 innings at Aberdeen this summer. He had four saves and 66 strikeouts with a 1.13 WHIP.
"Dylan Heid had a few minor shoulder problems last season that hindered him a bit," Williams said. "He came on strong this year."
The Pittsburgh Pirates originally drafted McGough in the 24th round in 2019, and the left-hander eventually had a solid 2021 season with the Altoona Curve before advancing to Triple-A with Indianapolis the following season when an arm injury interrupted his career.
The Orioles took McGough in the second round of the Triple-A Rule 5 Draft in December. The Norfolk Tides sent McGough to rehab assignments to the Florida Complex League (FCL) in early August, followed by rehab stays with Class A Delmarva and High Class A Aberdeen. McGough has appeared in a combined five games in the past month.
"Trey McGough is another guy who always carried himself like a professional," Cooper said. "He faced a decent amount of adversity at the beginning, coming off an injury. He was always at the field getting his work in.
"He ultimately wanted to get drafted. He was definitely a great competitor on the mound. It's good to see him doing great things."