Sunday, January 11, 2015

'Cats All-Star slugger Gabe Clark ready for more

Gabe Clark
Photo by Brian Hayes
If there was any doubt, let's clear the air. Gabe Clark was the backbone of the Victoria HarbourCats at the plate last season. The Oregon State University recruit smashed a team-leading eight home runs along with 31 RBI's, with an honest .291 batting average to keep Clark in the running for the 2014 WCL home run title last season. Despite his success at the dish this past season, Clark is putting all those bombs behind him, as he looks to improve as a veteran presence on the team next season.

"I don't really know how it happened, I was just seeing the ball well," Clark stated about his eight homer performance last season, "I just tried to put the ball in play and hit for contact, and it just worked out for me." As much as Clark's power is front and centre for his skill-set, the returning slugger looks forward to being a key asset on the team once again, and taking on a leadership role in the organization. "It's always fun to be in the middle of the line-up and to try to hit with power," Clark added, "it's nice to be a team leader and to be assumed as one of the team leaders once again this season."

Clark will be joined by fellow OSU recruit third baseman Michael Gretler on the HarbourCats roster this season, and Clark is extremely excited to have a fellow teammate on his college team join him for a season in the West Coast league. "I didn't know him until he got here," Clark stated, "but now that he's here, he's a great guy. I like playing with him, talking to him, he's a really good ballplayer and I'm excited; this is the first time that someone from Oregon State has actually gone to summer ball with me so it's going to be fun having someone up there that's from the same school and knows what it's like to play Oregon State baseball, and hopefully he can carry that to the summer."

The HarbourCats had the luxury of zero rain-delays or post-poned games due to the weather, as the Victoria skies cleared up for the 2014 WCL season, and it left a lasting impression on the 'Cats slugger, who looks forward to returning to his second home. "I thought it was really nice," Clark admitted, "the downtown life is really sweet and the field's really nice, my favourite part was the batter's box and it was just comfortable, everything about it. I had a great host family, it was unreal being there and I can't wait to get back."

Although there's still six months before the 2015 WCL campaign gets into full swing, Clark already has his eyes set on the post-season. "It's always good to make post-season baseball and it's always our goal at the start of the season."

Gabe Clark
Photo by Brian Hayes
Following the HarbourCats leaked news that the ownership had been dealt to a group in Delaware, Clark was unsure of the situation at first, and grieved he might not be back in Victoria in June. "I did see some of the things on Facebook, I do keep kind of updated," Clark stated, "I just try not to focus on that too much, right now I'm just focused on my collegiate season." Clark said he was shocked when he first received the news. "Originally I was just like, wow, maybe I'm not going up there, but then I read more into it and I saw that it's for sure happening for this season. But originally I didn't think I was going to be in Victoria again."

When asked if he had any personal goals for the upcoming season, Clark shrugged it off and gave an honest answer. "My goal is to every at-bat to hit a ball hard, put a ball in play, make solid contact and if a ball happens to go over the fence, that's pretty cool, if not then hopefully I had a good AB and hopefully I helped out the team to the best of my ability."

While we still have a ways to go before HarbourCats baseball takes to the field at Royal Athletic Park, Gabe Clark looks forward to coming back to Victoria and contributing for the third-year WCL franchise. It's been an offseason of controversy and rocky roads, but Clark and the HarbourCats believe they're back in clear skies and are now preparing for another exciting season of baseball in the Capital City.

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