WATERLOO, Ont. (August 19, 2013) - The Wilfrid Laurier University men's baseball team is pleased to announce that two student-athletes with professional baseball experience have committed to attending Laurier in the fall of 2013.
Jeff Hunt and Mitch Clarke, two local baseball players who have both spent time in Major League Baseball's (MLB) minor leagues have decided to return home and go to school and both have chosen Laurier
Jeff was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft out of St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge. Jeff played for the Ontario Terriers under Coach Dan Thompson and made the difficult decision to pass up a scholarship offer at Ohio University (NCAA Division I) to sign with the Dodgers. Jeff spent four seasons in the Dodgers minor league system, making it as high as A ball with the Great Lakes Loons in 2012. He finished his minor league career with a .240 batting average, 12 home runs and 49 RBI in 123 games played. Jeff was released by the Dodgers in the spring of 2013 and returned home to Cambridge where he has played this summer with the Brantford Red Sox of the Intercounty Baseball League.
"Jeff is a very determined young man and when the door closed on his professional baseball career, another door has opened for him here at Laurier," commented Laurier head coach SCOTT BALLANTYNE
. "Jeff has a lot of experience for someone who is only 22 years old. His professional baseball experience will benefit our program as our players will get a chance to learn from someone who played at a very high level. Jeff is a smooth defender at 3B and a strong left-handed hitter and we are very happy to have him as a part of our program."
Mitch Clarke - LHP
Mitch was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th round of the MLB June Amateur Draft out of Forest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener. Mitch was a teammate of Jeff's on the Ontario Terriers under Coach Dan Thompson and passed up a scholarship to Walters State College (NCJAA DI) to sign with the Reds. Mitch spent four seasons in the Reds minor league system, making it as high as A ball with the Dayton Dragons in 2011. He finished his minor league career with an 8-5 record and an ERA of 2.85 in 117 innings pitched. Mitch was released by the Reds in the fall of 2012 and returned home to Kitchener where he signed with the Kitchener Panthers of the Intercounty Baseball League.
"Mitch is a power lefty that I had the pleasure of coaching with the KW Jr. Panthers in 2009 where Mitch pitched for us before being drafted by the Reds," commented Ballantyne. "Mitch has battled some shoulder injuries over the past couple of years and has not thrown much for the Panthers this summer since returning home. His status for this fall with the Golden Hawks is up in the air given his recent bout of injuries, but like Jeff, he has a lot of experience and his knowledge and experience will benefit the younger players in our program."
Laurier kicks of the 2013 season with a couple of practices this coming weekend before training camp formally gets under way on Friday August 23rd. The Golden Hawks open up the OUA Conference schedule on Wednesday September 4th when they host the Waterloo Warriors at Bechtel Park in Waterloo with a 7pm first pitch.