CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Appalachian League announced that Johnson City’s Colby Backus (Tennessee) and Burlington’s Mason Ruh (Northern Illinois) were named the Player and Pitcher of the Month of June, respectively.
Backus, 21, earned Player of the Month honors after hitting .328 with seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 19 games. The Doughboys outfielder led all Appalachian League hitters in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage (.731), total bases (49) and extra-base hits (13) in June. Backus also finished second in OPS (1.136) and runs (23), and tied for second in doubles (6).
Backus hit safely in 15 of 19 games played for Johnson City in June and finished the month with seven multi-hit games. On June 18 in Kingsport, Backus went 2-for-2 with two home runs, three RBIs and two runs scored. He drove in six runs on June 29 in Danville, finishing 2-for-6 with a home run and scored three runs. Backus ended June with a hit in each of his final six games, hitting two home runs while driving in 10 and scoring nine runs in that span.
The Johnson City, Tenn., outfielder plays at the University of Tennessee. He transferred to Tennessee after playing two years at Walters State Community College. Backus is in his second Appalachian League season after he played in four games for the Doughboys in 2021.
Ruh, 19, earned Pitcher of the Month honors after going 5-0 with a 1.50 ERA over five appearances (one start) in June. The Sock Puppets right-hander struck out 22 over 18.0 innings, allowing 12 hits, three runs and 10 walks. Ruh finished the month with a 1.22 WHIP and a .197 batting average against. Ruh led all Appalachian League pitchers with five wins in June. He also tied for fourth in strikeouts.
Ruh was the winning pitcher in all five of his appearances for Burlington in June. In his longest relief outing in Kingsport on June 15, he allowed just one hit and struck out six over 4.1 scoreless innings. Ruh struck out a season-high seven on June 24 against Pulaski. In his only start on June 29 against Princeton, Ruh tossed 5.0 shutout innings while striking out six and allowing just three hits.
The Muskego, Wis., product is the reigning Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year. Ruh went 6-0 with a 2.66 ERA in 18 appearances (four starts) for the Sock Puppets in 2022. The Northern Illinois University sophomore appeared in 16 games (three starts) last spring, when he struck out 41 in 54.1 innings for the Huskies.