Freshmen lead Baldwin pitching staff

BALDWIN — Two freshmen pitching arms could play a key role in Baldwin’s bid for success on the baseball diamond this season.

Brandon Childress and Alan Clugston, both freshmen, will be the two key starters.

Clugston has pitched three years including on the Little League level.

“I came out and threw batting practice,” he said. “I’m pretty strong and I’m accurate.”

Clugston is confident he’ll be able to keep his walks allowed way down. He referred to games last year in which he had a favorable strikeout-to-walks ratio.

“Varsity, the pitching is different, baserunning is different,” he said. “You can lead off the bases (in high school) where you couldn’t before.”

Clugston is confident he can hit around .300.

“I’m a contact hitter,” he said. “I can place it.”

Childress started playing baseball at age 4 with his dad, Ben Childress with the local youth league.

“The last two years I couldn’t play because we didn’t have a Pony (League) team,” Childress said. “I’m not going to worry about it. I just have to get back to the fundamentals. I’m working on that. On the mound, I have to get back to my release point. On the field, I have to keep my head down.”

On the mound, Childress likes his fastball.

“I can throw the changeup pretty good,” he said. “On the curveball, I’m young and not ready to throw that as much as I’d like to.”

Childress could turn out to be among the team’s top hitters.

“I can be smart enough on the basepaths to get some runs,” he said.

When he’s not pitching, Childress will play shortstop.

Childress and Clugston both like Baldwin’s chances for success this season.

“We’re looking pretty good,” Childress said. “We have some young guys who can give in three more years later this year. We’ll have a good outfield.

“I think we’ve got a good team this year I see us going pretty far,” Clugston said. “We need to stay away from mistakes.”

The Panthers open the season at home Tuesday against Hesperia.

“The last couple of years they’ve been pretty decent,” said Baldwin baseball coach Doug Bolles. “Two years they won the district at Morley. They’re young, but they went to South Carolina in the spring (break). Their first game is always

ours.”

Senior Devon Sparks-Burrell will play first base and pitch while Bolles is also looking at Karlos Perez for some possible mound duties.

At the plate, “Devon will be one of my leaders,” Bolles said. “Childress and Clugston are looking good at the plate.”

Bolles also expects to have speed on the bases.

“Junior Hunter Nichols is probably our leader and is one of the best kids on the team,” Bolles said.