Brennon West is savoring the chance to start and thrive as a freshman for Clever this season.
“It's exciting,” he said. “I’ve worked hard pretty much my whole life to get where I am now. I'm enjoying it.”
West, a second baseman and third baseman, has been joined in the Jays’ lineup by fellow freshmen Landon Flood, a left-fielder, and Owen Hall, a shortstop.
“This is what you dream of,” Hall said. “It's awesome being on varsity as a freshman.”
“This means a lot to me,” Flood said. “I’ve worked for it and the other guys have, too.”
Coach Justin Snider said the freshmen are ahead of the pace set by Clever’s standout senior class from last year when they were at the same stage of their careers.
During Clever’s 3-8 start to the season, Flood is hitting at a.345 clip with six RBIs while batting fifth in the Jays’ lineup. Hall is hitting seventh and has a .450 on-base percentage over Clever’s last four games. West owns a 3.00 ERA on the mound.
Snider loves the youngsters’ enthusiasm.
“They’ve got great energy and are good kids,” he said. “They work hard and listen. They do what they're supposed to do.”
Snider added he expects the freshmen to go through typical highs and lows.
“It’s always a roller-coaster when you play young kids,” he said.
Flood and West have grown up playing club ball with the Southwest Missouri Scorpions, while Hall has played with the Midwest Mavs.
“That got me ready for this,” West said of his club ball experience.
Naturally, the trio battled butterflies while making their varsity debuts.
“We all had a few nerves,” Flood said. “Once our second game began, everyone began shake them off a bit.”
West was relieved to record his first varsity hit in his second start.
“I was so glad to get that out of the way and get better for the rest of the season,” he said.
All three of the freshmen double as pitchers.
Snider anticipates the biggest hurdle for the trio to overcome will be adjusting to pitchers who are as much as three years older than they are.
“The plate will be the biggest challenge for them,” Snider said. “They’ve gotten a little overmatched at times. But the more (pitches) they see, the easier it will become for them. You could see (initially) the speed of the game and how good some of the athletes are caught them off guard a little bit. Everyone is bigger, stronger and faster. But they’ll get there.”
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