Two of the best hitters in the Valley League, one from 2018 and one from 2019, are making headlines with their performances in college this spring.
Wes Clarke and Andrew Eyster are the leading culprits in South Carolina’s dominating 6-0 start to the 2021 college baseball season. Clarke, the 2nd best hitter in the League in 2019 for Waynesboro, has already been named the Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and D1baseball.com, and hit well enough to win another one for the second week of the season, too. Clarke, a junior, has been hitting home runs at an incredible pace, as he already has eight of them in only 22 at-bats. Overall, the Forest, Virginia native is hitting .636/.742/1.818 in those 22 at-bats, with 14 runs scored, two doubles, eight home runs, 17 RBIs, and nine walks against only four strikeouts. Both of the home runs he hit on Sunday against Clemson went over 400 feet. I will be watching closely to see if Clarke starts moving up draft lists as the season moves along.
Eyster was the MVP of the Valley League for New Market in 2018, and also ATVL’s top hitter. A senior, Eyster is hitting .393/.433/.786 in 28 at-bats, with three runs scored, three doubles, a triple, two home runs, nine RBIs, and a 2/7 BB/K ratio. Over the weekend, Eyster had walk-off hits in both of the Gamecock’s victories over Clemson. On Saturday, he ripped an RBI double to center field in the 11th inning, and followed it up with an RBI single in the bottom of the 9th to send South Carolina to a 8-7 win on Sunday. (Both hits came with Clarke on base, although he didn’t score either winning run.)
Both players were instrumental in their respective team’s success in the Valley. Clarke led the Generals to the best regular season winning percentage in the franchise’s history, and Eyster led New Market to the 2018 title, the team’s first since 2002. As an added note, both played for Zac Cole, the current pitching coach for the College of Central Florida. Cole is planning to return to the Valley in 2021 to coach Waynesboro.
Both will be in action tonight at Winthrop.