01/07/2005 7:53 AM - KANSAS CITY The Kansas City T-Bones won the second half South Division title with the help of a variety of role players. Chief among those were second-year infielder Chad Hill and rookie pitcher John Howerton. The team announced Monday that both players have been signed to a 2005 contract.
Hill, 23, played the end of 2003 with the Gary-Southshore Railcats before coming over to the T-Bones as the player to be named later in the deal that sent infielder Sean Murphy to Gary. Hill started slow, but given an opportunity to play, caught fire with multiple-hit games in twelve of sixteen contests starting with the June 21 game against the Schaumburg Flyers. In that span, Hill raised his average 172 points, and finished the season hitting .273 with seven home runs and 37 RBI in 79 games. His contributions were not only on offense, however; Hill filled in admirably at second and third base as well as shortstop.
Pitcher Howerton, 24, came in with little fanfare, but the rookie sidearmer was a stalwart out of the bullpen. Howerton appeared in forty games, sixth in the Northern League, hurling 64.0 IP along the way. Overall, Howerton posted two wins against three losses with a 2.95 ERA and three saves, but was a standout in relief. Coming out of the pen, Howerton was 2-2 with a 2.28 ERA, and in the months of July and August he posted a 1.27 ERA (4 ER in 28.1 IP).
Were excited to have Chad and John back for 2005, said T-Bones manager Dirty Al Gallagher. Both of them played an integral role on the field in our strong second half and, off the field, are good citizens of the Kansas City community.