Former Duquesne Recruit Doing Well in Pros

Former Duquesne baseball recruit Karl "Gus" Benusa is doing well for the Arizona Giants, the San Francisco Giants rookie league affiliate. He's the team's fifth leading batter.

Just about 45 days ago, Karl "Gus" Benusa was getting ready for local summer baseball and for college in the fall at Duquesne while hoping he'd get a look in the 2009 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. Not only did he get a look, Gus was the San Francisco Giants' eighth round selection.

As we reported in our earlier story, Mr. Benusa signed with one of the original 16 MLB franchises and is playing in the Arizona Rookie League.

In nine games, Gus Benusa is batting .333 with 11 hits and 11 runs scored, one double, a stolen base (1-1), five walks and three RBI. His latest action was this past weekend in a pair of lopsided wins over the Dodgers' and Mariners' rookie league teams. On Saturday, Gus was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Then on Sunday he was 1-for-3 (double) and scored a run.

In 33 at-bats, Benusa who is considered a power hitter, has struck out just three times, 0.09 percent. He has one error in those nine games.

Just one of the four players with higher batting averages than Benusa is also a 2009 draft pick: Nick Liles (.341), an infielder from Laurinburg, N.C. The Giants' Rookie League 40-man roster contains 14 players from this year's draft.

The team is leading the AZL East Division, and the entire league, with a 17-8 record (.680). The halfway point is this Saturday (7/25). If the Giants hold onto first Sunday morning they are guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals of the Arizona League playoffs at the end of the season.

Tonight the team travels to Phoenix to take on the Athletics (9-17) and then Saturday hosts the second place Angels (17-10) in Scottsdale.

Play continues through the end of August. For the Giants the finale is the evening of the 29th at the AZL Angels home field in Tempe, Ariz.

Note: One honor we missed in last week's column involved the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's universe of local newspapers. At the end of June, the Valley News Dispatch cited the Giants' drafting of Benusa as the top prep story of the year.

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