Shawon Dunston, Jr. returning to Stormers in ’24

The Lancaster Stormers have re-signed outfielder Shawon Dunston, Jr. and have obtained outfielder Gaige Howard from the Schaumburg (IL) Boomers of the Frontier League, it was announced today by manager Ross Peeples.

They are the eighth and ninth players inked by the Stormers for the upcoming 2024 season.  Both are left-handed batters.

Dunston, 31, will be on his third tour of duty with the Stormers.  The son of the former Cubs and Giants shortstop, Shawon Dunston, Sr., has appeared in 127 games over the last two years.  He has batted .281 as a Stormer with 17 doubles, nine triples, 14 homers and 64 RBI while stealing 51 base and scoring 97 runs in the equivalent of one full season.

In the post-season, Dunston hit a leadoff homer in the opener of the Championship Series against High Point in 2022.  Last year, he was 4-for-13 in the playoffs and stole four bases in the Game Four and Five wins over Gastonia to clinch Lancaster’s second consecutive crown.

Dunston had played in the San Francisco and Chicago Cubs farm systems for six seasons.  He has also played in the American Association and Frontier Leagues.

“Junior brings speed to our lineup and can play all three outfield spots,” said Peeples.  “He runs the bases very well, and his approach to the game brings the value that we are looking for.”

Howard, 25, spent a portion of two seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers system at Class A Rancho Cucamonga before heading to Schaumburg during last season.  With the Boomers, the product of the University of New Orleans hit .307 with six homers and 49 RBI while stealing 25 bags.  Howard finished third in the league in walks with 78.  He has walked more than he has struck out each of his last five years in the college and professional ranks.

“Gaige had a great year in the Frontier League last year and wants the chance to compete at a higher level,” said Peeples.  “He has a great approach at the plate and great hand-eye coordination and can play all three outfield spots.”

The Stormers will begin their quest for their third consecutive title with the season opener at Long Island on April 25.  They will raise the curtain on the home schedule, April 30 against the Atlantic League’s new entry, the Hagerstown Flying Boxcars.