Trenton Clark made the American Family Insurance ALL-USA preseason baseball team and has bolstered his case for the postseason team, hitting. .552 with 24 RBI, three homers and 11 stolen bases this season for Richland (North Richland Hills, Texas). Until the regular season American Family Insurance ALL-USA baseball team comes out in June, we’re looking at players who deserve consideration.
Name: Trenton Clark
School: Richland, North Richland Hills, Texas.
Height, weight: 6-0, 200
Baseball future: The senior center fielder has signed with Texas Tech but is considered a likely first-round draft choice.
After hitting 10 homers last season, including one at Arlington that went through a classroom window, Trenton Clark got used to being pitched around this season. He walked 34 times, including three times with the bases loaded.
“They did pitch around him a bunch,” Richland coach Chuck Wells said. “They walked him twice during district play with the bases loaded. He still hit over .500 in the district and with runners in scoring position, his average was around .800. More importantly that that, he was a phenomenal teammate. At times, we might have 70 scouts at batting practice, but at no point this year, did it become about him.”
Clark led Team USA at the COPABE 18U Pan American Championship with a .538 average. He also put the international experience to use this season, particularly on defense, he said.
“I started taking my defense seriously this season,” Clark said. “It meant making sure I was locked in every single pitch. In the past, I got by on my athleticism, but I did a much better job of getting a good jump and reading the play. I felt like I came into the year knowing I would have a big role on the team and I had the opportunity to leave a legacy of being positive.”
Wells said he encouraged Clark to swing away more.
“We had to tell him to be less selective at the plate,” Wells said. “He had to change his approach at the plate because people would throw a lot of pitches off the plate. One time, they were trying to walk him and he hit it over the left-field wall. He only had four or five swings for misses, where he didn’t make some type of contact.”
In one game, Richland trailed 9-3 when Clark came up with the bases loaded and was walked.
“He told the guy on deck, ‘It’s your turn’ and the kid hits it off the left-field wall for a bases-clearing triple,” Wells said. “He had a lot of confidence in the rest of his teammates. For us to get into the league playoffs as one of the smaller schools in our division, he was a big reason.”
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter at @jimhalley