By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Playing for the Amarillo-based West Texas Outlaws in the wood-bat Red River League, Eastern New Mexico University baseball players Seth Clabaugh and Clayton Young will have their summer seasons extended.
Both were picked up by the Oklahoma A’s, another league member featuring mostly players from fellow Lone Star Conference schools Southeastern Oklahoma and Central Oklahoma, for next week’s National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita, Kan.
The national tournament begins on Monday, and Oklahoma’s first game will be at 1 p.m. (CDT), the players said.
“We played them during the (league) tournament,” said Clabaugh, a junior left-handed pitcher-first-baseman-outfielder and son of ENMU baseball coach Phil Clabaugh. “I guess they thought we did good enough during the regular season that we got picked up for the team.”
Young, who will also be a junior in eligibility, played mostly left field and some shortstop for the Outlaws. Last spring, he hit .392 for ENMU with seven triples.
He said it took some time to adjust from the aluminum bats of the college game to wooden bats.
“I hit better toward the end at Amarillo,” said Young, who is from Canyon, Texas. “I started out kind of slow, just because of the wood bats.”
Young said the transition from wood to aluminum should be easier, but having hit with wood bats this summer should help him.
“It helps a lot with staying behind the ball and with your timing,” he said. “You have to be pretty much perfect (to square up the ball) with a wood bat. There’s a lot bigger (sweet) spot with aluminum.”
Clabaugh went 4-5 with a 5.68 earned run average and two complete games for the Hounds. Playing right field when he wasn’t pitching, he hit .306.
He expects to see action on the mound in Wichita.
“They told me they’d probably need some pitching,” he said.
Teams in the tournament are made up of college players from almost every level.
“We’ll definitely see a lot of really good players from across the nation,” Young said.