Changing From Within


  by - Radio Host - Thursday, March 14, 2013 12:37 PM
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Changing From Within
Like all coaches Jack LeggettJack Leggett
Baseball Head Coach
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has caught more than his share of criticism in recent seasons. The hiring of Tom Riginos was not popular. If Leggett choses to bunt it is the wrong decision according to some but if the batter doesn't bunt then others will criticize. In-state recruiting has been a hot button topic as well. I think South Carolina's national success and recent control of the rivalry brings added heat to Leggett as well.

Some of the criticism reminds me of the harsh words some had for Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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's football program pre-2011. However, Swinney does not get near the criticism he once did because he won 21 games and an ACC title since then.

The way that Swinney changed people's perception of the program was he changed the program from the inside. He went out and hired an inexperienced offensive coordinator even though some said he should have hired Ralph Friedgen at the time. Swinney and his staff recruited super star prospects like Sammy Watkins and helped develop those that were already there before the 2011 season like Tajh Boyd, Dwayne Allen and Nuk Hopkins.

The football program changed from within by adding better coaches, recruiting better players and developing players better.

I can see the same thing happening inside our baseball program. Bradley Lecroy took over the recruiting coordinator's role and it took a couple of seasons to rebuild relationships in some areas. His last two classes, however, have produced better players. I am told that the next two classes may be even better.

The Sophomores
The current sophomore class has Daniel GossettDaniel Gossett
So. RH Pitcher
#23 6-0, 180
Lyman, SC

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who is a flame thrower with a 2-1 record and a 1.46 ERA as the ace of the staff and the Friday night starter. Gossett has 25 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. He is also one of the emotional leaders of the staff.

Kyle SchnellKyle Schnell
So. RH Pitcher
#40 6-0, 165
Alpharetta, GA

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has been the best stopper out of the bullpen as a sophomore. This is his first season at Clemson after a year in junior college. The side armer has an 0.73 ERA in his seven appearances and 12.1 innings pitched. Schnell was a key to both wins at top-ten ranked NC State last weekend.

The top sophomores in the field has been slick fielding third baseman Jay BaumJay Baum
So. Infielder
#13 6-0, 190
Alpharetta, GA

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who is hitting .286 and catcher Garrett BoulwareGarrett Boulware
So. Catcher
#30 6-1, 210
Anderson, SC

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. The Anderson native is hitting .333 with two homers and 11 RBIs heading into this weekend.

The Freshmen
The freshman class has been even better. The corner outfielders are two true freshmen in speedster Maleeke GibsonMaleeke Gibson
Fr. Outfielder
#1 5-9, 165
Sumter, SC

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and future star right fielder Steven Duggans who is hitting .278 with four doubles and eight RBIs so far.

Shortstop Tyler KriegerTyler Krieger
Fr.
#3 6-2, 170
Johns Creek, GA

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is having to adjust at the plate but his defense has been exceptional for a true freshman.

Three true freshmen pitchers have been outstanding. Clate SchmidtClate Schmidt
Fr. RH Pitcher
#32 6-1, 190
Acworth, GA

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is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 17 innings as the Saturday starter.

Matthew CrownoverMatthew Crownover
Fr. LH Pitcher
#44 5-11, 205
Ringgold, GA

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is 2--0 with a 2.45 ERA and has taken over the mid-week starting role.

Zack ErwinZack Erwin
Fr. LH Pitcher
#33 6-4, 180
Duluth, GA

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is a very talented left-hander who has not allowed an earned run in his five relief appearances so far. Erwin has five strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

This is a young team, so mistakes are going to be made and patience will be required at times. Sometimes we have to remember that only three players started at there current position last year. However, there have been a bunch of positives signs so far in the teams first 15 games.

Remember too the schedule has been brutal. After this weekend, nine of the team's first 18 games will have been against teams ranked in the top 12 in the nation. I have to believe the youngsters will benefit from playing stiff competition so early in their careers.

In summary, there some good things happening in this baseball program. The freshmen and sophomores have me excited about their growth this season but more importantly, I am really excited to see the program get back on track moving into the next few seasons.

The Brad Hughes All-State Insurance Agency





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