Mark Kingston: ‘A lot of impact players coming in’ for USC
It took a little while for catcher Wes Clarke to get going for South Carolina baseball in his freshman season — the MLB draftee played sparingly early and a disastrous outing behind the plate at Gardner-Webb sent him to the bench for nearly two months.
But toward the end of the year, the Forest, Virginia, native worked his way back into the lineup and wound up improving his batting average by nearly 100 points, and he’s carried over that late surge into a strong showing thus far in summer ball.
Playing in the Valley Baseball League this summer for the Waynesboro Generals, Clarke is hitting .394 in 21 games, with three home runs and 20 RBIs to go with 19 walks and just five strikeouts. His slugging percentage is .690, and his on-base percentage sits at .547.
Those impressive numbers have earned him an All-Star nod for the league, one of the oldest wooden bat collegiate leagues in the country.
If Clarke is able to continue posting such impressive numbers, he could join one of his teammates as back-to-back MVPs of the league — rising junior outfielder Andrew Eyster dominated the VBL last summer with a .421 batting average, nine home runs and 35 RBIs in 32 games.
More than a dozen other current or future Gamecocks are competing across the country in summer leagues, including six in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Check out a full rundown of how they’re doing below.
Cape Cod League
Noah Campbell (junior infielder) — Campbell is off to another great start on the Cape, hitting .381 with two homers, six walks and five stolen bases in 10 games
Andrew Eyster (junior outfielder) — Hitting .364 with three home runs, nine RBIs and seven runs in 12 games, but also has struck out 11 times in 33 at-bats.
Carmen Mlodzinski (junior pitcher) — Only started one game as inclement weather postponed his other appearances. Went 4 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs, two hits and one walk but striking out seven.
Cam Tringali (redshirt sophomore pitcher) — 1-2 record with 2.70 ERA across three starts and 13 1/3 innings pitched. Struck out 14 batters against 14 walks and hits allowed combined.
Dallas Beaver (senior infielder) — Batting .300 in six games, with two RBIs, four runs and three walks against five strikeouts.
Luke Berryhill (junior catcher) — 4-for-8 at the plate in three games, with a double and a walk.
Noah Myers (junior outfielder) — Went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts in two games.*
Coastal Plains League
Jonah Beamon (sophomore infielder) — Hitting just .091 with seven RBIs and a home run in 19 games, along with 27 strikeouts and five walks
Daniel Lloyd (sophomore pitcher) — Made seven appearances with an 0-2 record, one start and an ERA of 2.84. Has struck out 12 and walked eight across 12 2/3 innings of work.
Josiah Sightler (sophomore infielder) — Went 5-for-23 at the plate over seven games, driving in six runs, scoring six runs and hitting one home run.*
Brady Allen (sophomore outfielder) — Hitting .292 in 30 games with 11 doubles and 28 RBIs, as well as 19 walks and 18 strikeouts to go with five stolen bases
Parker Coyne (junior pitcher) — Currently 1-2 with a 4.12 ERA in five starts. Has struck out 29 batters and walked nine in 28 1/3 innings of work
Brannon Jordan (junior pitcher) — In five appearances has collected two saves an a 0.69 ERA, striking out 16 batters in 13 innings and allowing just nine baserunners.
Jeff Heinrich (junior infielder) — Hit .258 in 17 games, with six extra base hits and 10 RBIs to go with five walks and four stolen bases.*
Joel Brewer (sophomore outfielder) — Batted 4-for-11 with one home run and two RBIs.*
*Will not play the rest of the summer