Cody Clark has played baseball since he was 4 years old.
The Wallace College sophomore and Dothan resident hopes he can play a lot more years.
After signing to play at Huntingdon College on May 8, he will get the chance to do so for at least a couple more years.
“It is real exciting to continue to play the game and be able to have another opportunity,” Clark said. “I just want to play the game for as long as I can and as long as I am allowed to.”
Though Clark could have returned to Wallace because of a recent NJCAA ruling allowing sophomores another year of eligibility because of the coronavirus, Governors head coach Mackey Sasser said it was time for the Dothan resident to move on.
“He could have chosen to come back, but he is a smart kid in school as he does very well, so it was better for him to go to the four-year institution instead of staying at Wallace for the premises of wasting a year of sitting here taking classes that he didn’t need,” Sasser said.
A relief pitcher, Clark made six appearances this spring at Wallace during the coronavirus-shortened season and had no win or loss decisions. He allowed just five hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings, finishing with a 1.35 earned run average. He struck out four and walked eight.
“I throw side-arm, so I get a lot of soft contact,” Clark said. “I miss a lot of the barrel of the bats. I take that as my advantage to throw off-speed and fastballs. It throws the hitters timing off. Huntingdon really wanted a side-arm guy. They haven’t had one in a while.”
Clark was a straight-over-the top pitcher coming to Wallace out of Dothan High School, but Sasser felt the pitcher would have more success as a side-arm hurler.
After a rough go of it as a freshman, Sasser said the Govs reliever was coming into his own this year, especially with his sinker pitch, when the season was shut down.
“Last year, we had some arms and he was learning a new way to pitch,” Sasser said. “He was over the top when he was at Dothan, but we dropped him down to three-quarters and he really picked it up last summer when he went out to play summer ball.
“This year, we started using him in situations and he started getting better and better in getting outs. He would come in when I needed a ground ball. He is a ground ball pitcher with the way his ball (pitches) moves down and in.”
Sasser said Clark throws in the 83-85 miles per hour range and has a good sinker, a good change-up and a good slider.
With this season shortened by the COVID-19 virus, Clark said most of the recruiting with Huntingdon was done through old-fashion phone conversations.
“It was tough,” Clark said of the recruiting. “Me, the head coach (DJ Conville) and the assistant coach (Nick Fletcher) that recruited me talked on the phone a lot. We would talk just about each and every day.”
He added, “They watched me throw a (video) bullpen as they couldn’t see me in a live game because of the coronavirus.”
They apparently liked what they saw in the video session to offer the Governors sophomore.
Clark said because of the coronavirus, he was not able to make an official visit to the Montgomery school until this past week.
“It was different than what I expected because of the virus,” Clark said Saturday of the visit. “We had to wear a mask and stay six feet apart and you couldn’t go in certain buildings. I wish it could have been different, but I still enjoyed it. I look forward to going there.”
He also visited a few years back to watch a friend and former Dothan High teammate Jay Jordan play for the Hawks a few years back.
Overall, he had seen and heard more than enough to decide to play for Huntingdon. The University of Mobile and Albany State also expressed interest in Clark.
“They have been pretty good the last few years and they compete (well) in the conference,” Clark said of Huntingdon. “I like how hard they work and how hard they compete in the weight room, off the field and on the field.
“I felt it was the place for me because I work hard at everything, pretty much grind. I felt it was the place for because I like the way they handle the program. I also chose Huntingdon because they are a good academic school and I take pride in my grades.”
Clark said he plans to major in physical education at Huntingdon, with hopes to becoming a coach and a teacher following college.
“He will go a long way in life because he is a hard worker,” Sasser said. “He is dedicated to what he puts his mind to. He is a great teammate and a great kid to have around.”