Bowling Green, Ky. — Former Western Kentucky University pitcher Colby Beach made his professional debut on Saturday for the Idaho Falls Chukars — the Kansas City Royals’ Rookie Pioneer League affiliate.
After helping the Hilltoppers to a Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Regionals, Beach signed a free-agent contract with the Royals. After a short stint in Arizona for training, the Roxie, Miss., native took the mound in relief in the Chukars’ fifth game of the season. In one inning of work out of the bullpen, he allowed a run on two hits, and also recorded a strikeout.
Beach is one of five former Hilltoppers currently playing in the Minor Leagues. Matt Wilhite is in his second year as a reliever with the Salt Lake Bees — the triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Travis Brown is with the Balitmore Orioles’ double-A team, the Bowie Baysox, after starting the year with the triple-A Norfolk Tide. Jordan Newton and Corteze Armstrong are both playing in single-A with their respective clubs. Newton is currently catching for the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers), while Armstrong is with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Cleveland Indians).
Beach was not the only member of the 2008 Sun Belt Tournament champions to garner attention from Major League teams. Junior Chad Cregar was drafted in the 47th round by the Chicago Cubs. However, Cregar has elected to return to the Hilltoppers for his senior season in 2009.