For Yorktown baseball player Jake Clawson, Ball State has always been seen as a desirable place to continue his baseball career. The rising senior for the Tigers said he looked up to several former Cardinals, including Cal Bowling, a former Ball State player who also played at Yorktown.
Clawson recently gave a verbal commitment to Ball State, meaning he will make the same short trip Bowling made to play college baseball.
“I went to the Ball State-Purdue game, and just fell in love with the facility and the coaches,” Clawson said. “And all the guys were nice to me. I’ve always had Ball State high on my list, and things finally worked out and (I) got the offer and didn’t hesitate to take it.”
Clawson played a varied role for Yorktown in his junior season. He led the Tigers in innings pitched, getting 46 1/3 innings of work on the mound, where he finished with a 5-1 record and a 1.51 ERA. He pitched a one-hit shutout in his team’s sectional championship win against Central.
When Clawson wasn’t on the mound, he could usually be found in center field. But when the Tigers’ shortstop, Clay Dungan, would head to the mound to serve as the Tigers’ closer, Clawson would then make the move to play shortstop. He finished the year with a .288 batting average with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.
“He was just (a) so much more mature player,” Yorktown coach Mike Larrabee said. “You just see that he has grown. He’s always been very physically talented…He’s always cared a lot about the game, but sometimes he gets frustrated. And I just thought he matured a lot, was able to deal with bad things as well as good things.”
Clawson said Ball State isn’t locked in on him playing one particular position, instead leaving the possibilities open with his versatility. He said he’ll play wherever he fits into the Cardinals lineup.
“He’s really kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” Larrabee said. “And that’s one of the things that makes him valuable, I’m sure, to Ball State, is that he has a lot of different options and avenues.”
Clawson said he was also drawn to Ball State coach Rich Maloney’s style, which he described as ‘old-school.’
Prior to his career with the Cardinals, Clawson has one more season at Yorktown. He’s been playing this summer with the Indiana Prospects, traveling to other states for various tournaments. He said his goal for his final spring with the Tigers is simple.
“My biggest goal is to just have a better season than we did this year,” Clawson said.
Contact prep sports reporter Sam Wilson at (765) 213-5807. Follow him on Twitter @SamWilsonTSP.