Clarkton relaunches baseball program under new head coach Quinton Stevens
After a three-year hiatus fall baseball is returning to Clarkton High School.
For the first time since 2016 Clarkton has enough players out for baseball to field a fall team at the high school level.
“We haven’t had an opportunity to play since our eighth grade season,” Clarkton sophomore Anthony Lemus said. “It’s nice to get back on a diamond. We want to slowly build our baseball program back up.”
The man in charge of rebuilding the program is first-year head coach Quinton Stevens.
“This is a great district and I’m excited to take over the baseball program,” Stevens said. “I really enjoy working with our Superintendent, Board of Education, and staff. They are great people and they want to help the Clarkton baseball program be successful. It’s one big family with all of our sports programs here.”
Stevens comes to Clarkton after having the opportunity to play at the collegiate level at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff and U.T. Martin in Martin, Tennessee.
“I really enjoyed my college playing experience,” Stevens said. “I learned a lot. It was neat getting to play teams like Ole Miss and Vanderbilt and learning how they do things. I’m going to try to relay those things to my guys at the high school level. High school is a different level but having them do things a certain way is important if we want to build a successful program.”
Stevens inherits a Clarkton roster composed of one senior, two juniors, three sophomores, and six freshmen.
“We are a very young team,” Stevens said. “They are learning and so far it has been fun to coach them.”
Outfielder Jackson DeCourley will attempt to lead the squad as the lone senior.
“It’s great,” DeCourley said of being back on the diamond. “I love baseball and love being out here with these guys. It’s just awesome. We’ve been working hard and we are hungry.”
Junior Cameron Loughary, freshman Seth Hill, sophomore Caleb Plunkett, and freshman Blake Wellington are leading candidates to eat up innings on the mound for the Reindeer.
Sophomore Kade Coleman is expected to spend time behind the plate as catcher.
Stevens said many other positions remain in flux at this point.
“Right now with the season being young and the team we have we are still experimenting regarding who will play where,” Stevens said. “A lot of kids had no idea what position they played until the first day of practice. It’s a process we are all trying to learn.”
Stevens said assistant coach Casey Redden has played a vital role in developing his young squad.
“It’s good to have a good support staff,” he said. “My assistant coach, Casey Redden, is awesome. He’s doing a lot of great things with the kids. Anything I need he is there. He’s very positive and encouraging and he’s been a big help to the program.”
Clarkton competes in the Tri-County Conference with Gideon, Risco, Cooter, Southland, and Holcomb. The Tri-County Conference remains one of the few conferences that elects to play its conference tournament during the fall baseball season. Cooter, which placed third in Class 1 last season, went undefeated in Tri-County Conference play last fall.
“We’ve obviously got some pretty tough teams in our conference, including Cooter,” Stevens said. “Coach Mathis does a very good job with them and they are very disciplined. Holcomb will also be a top contender in the conference. But we will play every team like they are the No. 1 team in the conference. To me when you are starting a program you have to get the mentality to bring the same effort every day.”
Stevens said keeping things simple is vital as Clarkton students get used to being back on a baseball diamond.
“We are taking things day-by-day and step-by-step,” he said. “We are trying to teach them how to play baseball and also how to be respectful young men. For a program that hasn’t fielded a team in a few years it’s important to start things simple and I think baseball should be simple anyways.”
Clarkton Baseball Schedule
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