Ebers sizzling at the plate for the Tigers

By: 
Theo Tate

Wellsville-Middletown senior Clayton Ebers delivers a pitch in the third inning against Higbee on April 12. Ebers is the Tigers’ top hitter with a .517 batting average. THEO TATE PHOTO

A month ago, Clayton Ebers wrapped up an outstanding basketball season that included all-Eastern Missouri Conference, all-district and all-state awards and a district championship.

Now, the Wellsville-Middletown senior is looking to carry that success into baseball this spring.

“I look forward to it every year,” Ebers said. “Baseball used to be my first love until I discovered basketball and how good I was at it. Baseball was my thing. We have a good team here. Whenever I figured out the positions on who was going to play what spot, I realized we could really do something.”

So far, Ebers has been a hitting machine for the Tigers. Going into W-M’s game against Montgomery County on April 27, he’s batting .517 (15 for 29) with 15 hits, 13 runs scored, eight RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 10 games.

“His numbers are unreal,” first-year W-M coach Brandon Moeller said. “He’s got to be right up there with any top hitter you want to pull from Class 1. He’s hitting the crap out of the ball. He’s hitting for power and hitting for average. He’s stealing a lot of bases, which is something we like to do on this team. He’s doing everything we ask him to do. He’s got a great approach at the plate and it’s showing with the stats. He’s putting up great numbers.”

Ebers, who plays first base, said he’s pleased with the way he’s performing at the plate.

“Offensively, I’ve been comfortable,” Ebers said. “I’ve been here four years. No pitcher has allowed me out of my shoes. If it stays like that, I think I’ll have an amazing season.”

Ebers also did some pitching this spring. He threw a scoreless third inning in W-M’s come-from-behind, 6-5 win over Higbee in a home game on April 12. He also has a save.

“I’m recovering from a torn labrum,” Ebers said. “I tore my labrum at the end of last basketball season (2019-20) and I haven’t pitched since then. But it seems like the velocity is still there. I’m throwing pretty hard and my curveball is coming back.”

Sophomore Dylan Alsop and seniors Jacob Hollensteiner and Wyatt Cassidy also have been valuable for the Tigers. Hollensteiner and Cassidy each have 11 hits. Alsop has 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored at the plate and 45 strikeouts on the mound.

W-M scored 76 runs after 11 games.

“We’ve been fortunate that our offense has carried us this year,” Moeller said. “We’re putting up runs at a really good clip. If you take out the New Haven game (on March 22), we’re averaging like 10 runs a game. That’s huge for us. We rely on that offense.”

Ebers helped the Tigers’ basketball team finish 19-7 and capture their 13th district title in program history this winter. He was named to the all-state team for the first time, earned first-team all-conference honors and was selected to the District 5 and Northeast Missouri Media all-district teams.

Ebers said after his basketball season ended in a heartbreaking, double-overtime loss to Salisbury in the Class 2 quarterfinals, he quickly switched his focus to baseball.

“It (the loss) really hit me hard,” the senior said. “But whenever baseball season started and I realized that we have a good team and I can do something here, it switched a whole gear. It put competitiveness back in me.”

Ebers is looking to help the Tigers finish with their third winning season in four years. W-M is off to a 6-5 start after beginning its season on March 22 with a 14-2 loss to New Haven.

“Honestly, when we have a great season, it’s going to feel great,” Ebers said. “It’s going to feel like how I did in basketball. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to a bitter end, though.”  

 

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