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Donathan making impression with UNCP baseball

Mar. 30—Before Southern Lee's memorable 2023 season that ended with a trip to the NCHSAA East regional finals, a number of the Cavaliers' seniors from that season had signed to play at the next level.

Ashton Donathan, the primary catcher for that team, signed with UNC-Pembroke, and he is starting to make good things happen for the Braves.

Donathan hit the first home run of his college career Tuesday evening, as Pembroke outlasted Catawba in 11 innings for the team's 22nd victory of the season.

The blow came in the second inning, and staked the Braves (22-9) to a 5-0 lead at that point. Pembroke had scored four in the first inning and extended its lead on Donathan's solo shot. Catawba (22-9) rallied to take the lead in the eighth inning before the Braves tied the score again. Each team scored once in the 10th before UNCP finally prevailed in 11.

Donathan, who started the game behind the plate and remained there for most of the contest, went 1-for-3 in the game. It was the third starting assignment of his career with Pembroke, after making his college debut on Feb. 9 with a pinch-hitting appearance against Shepherd. Donathan got his first start, hit, and RBI four days later, when the Braves beat Claflin. Pembroke is 8-1 when Donathan plays and 3-0 in games he has started.

So far, he is hitting .375 (6-for-16), with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and three RBI.

The Braves returned to action Friday night to begin a three-game series at Conference Carolinas rival Erskine.

Catching upDonathan signed with UNCP on the same day as his Southern Lee teammates Pierce Bouwman, Kale Scruggs, and Jalan Jones, on November 15, 2022. Scruggs has not yet made an appearance for Campbell University, but Bouwman has gotten into four games at USC Upstate, including scoring his first run as a college player on March 2 against Penn.

However, Jones has hit the ground running at Norfolk State and was named Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week earlier this month. Jones continues to excel for the Spartans, having gone 3-fof-5 with a double, run scored, and RBI in the team's most recent game, a loss to Longwood. Jones is established as a starting outfielder for NSU and is hitting .351 (26-for-74) with 17 runs scored and 14 RBI to go with eight doubles and three triples.