Clever baseball

Trace Comer and Clever host East Newton at 6:30 p.m. tonight in a Class 3 District 12 semifinal.

Trace Comer is probably as good an endorsement for Drury’s hitting camp as anyone the Panthers have had run though a session with them.

Not only did Comer set himself up for success during his senior season at Clever from what he learned from Drury coaches, the exposure he received led to Comer getting the chance to continue his career with the Panthers.

He signed with Drury last week leading up to the start of Class 3 District 12 play. The Jays host East Newton in a semifinal at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

 “I originally went there to pick up some drills to work on,” Comer said. “They went through their hitting program, the drills they go through with their players. What stood out for me from other hitting coaches is they like you to pull your back arm down and drive all the way through the ball so you can have power to all fields, rather than trying just to pull the ball.

“Then, coach (Scott Nasby) talked to me and said he might give me a shot. Things took off from there. He contacted me two weeks ago offering me a spot on the team. I was already going to go there for their architectural program. The Hammons School Of Architecture is well known and I’ve always been interested in architecture.” 

Comer has combined newly-found power to go along with his exceptional speed to put together a .388 batting average with two home runs and 17 RBIs and 29 runs scored this spring.

“This is the best I’ve ever batted,” he said. “I picked up a couple home runs. I’ve never done that before.”

Comer’s top asset, though, has been and probably always will be his speed. He has 16 stolen bases in 18 attempts.

“My speed makes me stand out,” he said. “My fielding, too. I can cover a lot of ground. For my size, I can hit fairly strong, with some power.”

“Trace is deceiving. If you just look at him, you don’t see a college athlete,” Clever coach Justin Snider said, referring to Comer’s 5-foot-8, 160-pound frame. “But if you watch him play, he has every attribute a college athlete is supposed to have. He has speed, a great arm, swings the bat hard and has a lot of pop for someone who weighs only 160 pounds. Once they see how fast he is, that will help his cause, too.” 

Comer feels Clever can contend for Class 3 District 12 title. The other half of the bracket features top-seeded Marionville and No. 4 seed Forsyth.

“We have a good chance,” Comer said. “We haven’t played the greatest lately. But I feel we’re going to pick it up. I feel we’re the best team there and I feel a bunch of people think we’re the best team there.”

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