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All-Area Baseball Player of the Year: Wesley Clarke, LCA

All-Area Baseball Player of the Year: Wesley Clarke, LCA

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Q: It was another wonderful season at LCA. It didn’t end the way you wanted to, but what was the run like?

A: We just were so hungry to get into the playoffs and to win games and make another run to states that we were so pumped every single game. Our end goal was the state championship, even though it didn’t happen. But our adrenaline in games, looking toward that goal and being able to beat teams pretty bad just really pumped us up.

Q: What was it like to win games by such a wide margin and see guys develop over the course of the season?

A: It really showed our next level players to be consistent very single game. In my opinion, it showed how our guys will play at the next level, because the consistency was there.

Q: What was the end of the season like, losing in the first round of region play when you guys were the favorites to win a state title? Have you faced anything like that in your career?

A: It was probably the hardest loss I’ve ever had in my life. I had never had a loss like that. But baseball is like that. … I think the best part about our team is everyone was sad in the moment, but the next day we were all back on the field, preparing for summer ball and next season.

Q: When did you start playing and why?

A: In tee ball when I was probably four years old. My dad [David Clarke] had played baseball, my sister [Liberty University outfielder Madi Clarke] played.

Q: How did you become a power hitter?

A: Well, I was always on the bigger side. … Once everyone catching up to me in size is when I really started developing my strength and power in the weight room. … A lot of it is just I played baseball my whole life. I’ve been working on my swing for 18 years. So a lot of it has just come from hard work.

Q: Talk about your career at LCA and what it’s been like. You played as an eighth grader before you guys joined the VHSL.

A: Early on, I looked up to the seniors. I would try to hit like some of the guys older than me. I tried to think like them, just so I could be like them. That really helped. … Then when I got in the junior, senior range, I really cared about the younger guys, because I knew I had been in that position. So I’d try to help them as much as possible.

Q: Do you have a pre-game ritual?

A: I pray before every game and listen to a lot of music to get hyped up. If I listen to a song and do really good that game, I’ll listen to that song again.

Q: Do you have a favorite teacher?

A: Amber Conley.

Q: What do you think the future of LCA baseball is?

A: I think the future is really strong. We lost three starting seniors and have got everybody back [for 2019]. … So I think we’re gonna be really strong next year.

Q: What was it like to find out you had been drafted?

A: It was pretty awesome, knowing I could chose to be a pro player now or chose to be a pro player later if I get the opportunity again. So it’s just kind of surreal.

Q: What do you expect at the University of South Carolina?

A: I think I’ll definitely see some playing time. I plan on earning a starting spot. But yeah, I think it’s very promising for playing time.

Q: How many runners did you throw out this season?

A: Early season, a lot of guys ran on me. I threw out six guys in our first few games and then no one stole on me the rest of the season. … I’d say 6 for 6 on throws. The one time a guy did steal, he was basically already there when I got the ball.

Q: Which people have most influenced your life?

A: My father, my mother, my sister, coach [Randy] Tomlin, coach Chris Rocco.

Ben Cates covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5527.



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