Sports

"SK grads Clark, Hammel feeling a draft"

"Josh Clark entered his senior year in college without being drafted by a major league baseball team.As the window of opportunity started to close, the 1997 South Kitsap High School graduate decided his best shot at gaining exposure was to transfer with only one year of eligibility left.After three years as the No.1 pitcher at Central Washington University, Clark Transferred the NAIA school to Division II Southern University-Edwardsville.My coach at Central wasn't happy about it and I was unsure about it at first, Clark said.Clark's uncertainty was put to rest after the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball Draft Tuesday--the first of two draft days.I didn't even think I'd be taken on the first day, Clark said. There was a message on my machine (from an Arizona scout) so I was pretty ecstatic.Clark enjoyed success at SIU-Edwardsville with a 7-3 record, and helped lead his team to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Division II World Series. Though he lost his game in the first round thanks to five unearned runs, Clark said his decision clearly paid off.That's why I came out here, he said. I just made a whimsical decision.After playing summer ball in Missouri last year, a couple of his teammates informed Clark of SIU-Edwardsville's lack of depth in pitching.With only one year left of eligibility, Clark said transferring to a Division II school with a solid program was his best shot at being noticed.Though some major league teams had talked to him last year, Clark said he knew this year's draft would determine his fate.Everybody dreams to on to the next level, Clark said. I kind of saw this (transfer) as a last shot at it.The Diamondbacks didn't give Clark much notice on his future either.I have to report to the Yakima Bears June 11, he said. I've packed up my truck and my dad (Don Clark) is flying over and will drive it over.Clark slightly chuckled at the irony he will be starting his professional career only 25 miles away from the college he left to pursue his dream.Clark said he can't explain why he had never been drafted before, but the 6-5, 235-pounder said scouts watched him all year and told him he has perspective big league talent.I guess I'm lucky, Clark said. I'll just keep doing what I've been doing. I've got a lot of experience playing summer ball but I don't know what to expect.Unlike Clark, 2000 SK graduate Jason Hammel enjoyed his second straight year of being drafted.After being drafted in the 23rd round by the Seattle Mariners last year, Hammel, a pitcher who finished up his freshman year at Treasure Valley Community College, was nabbed in the 19th round by the Tampa Bay Devils Rays.While Clark was short on time, Hammel said he most likely will hold off on signing with the Devil Rays and pitch his sophomore season at TVCC.I'd like to finish out at Treasure Valley and go to (Division I) and see what it has to offer, Hammel said. After watching Hammel throw this summer the Devil Rays could offer him a contract, but Hammel said he doesn't think he's ready.Hammel said he needs more time to bulk up his 6-6 lanky frame.After graduating at 175 pounds, Hammel gained 15 pounds this year and would like to add another 20 pounds next year.With my body frame I need more weight to add velocity to my pitches, he said. Right now I'm throwing 88,89, 90 (mph). I don't want to play two years of pro ball and then be done.Hammel said he's still happy to get drafted because it lets you know that you're up there.I know I can get to the next level but college is fun and getting an education is great. "

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