When he committed to play baseball for Middle Tennessee State University, Reid Clements became the first male athlete from Silverdale Baptist Academy to receive and accept an NCAA Division I scholarship offer.
He will be SBA's third Division I athlete, joining softball player Katie Henderson (Kentucky) and basketball player Mariah Massengill (Eastern Kentucky).
"I'm excited," the Seahawks pitcher said. "All the hard work is paying off. I feel I'm blessed."
Silverdale athletic director and football coach Al Rogers said Clements is an outstanding athlete.
"He wasn't a four-year three-sport guy, because of injuries, but he did play three sports some years," the coach said.
Clements had to undergo Tommy John surgery -- and missed his junior baseball season -- because of a shoulder injury suffered while playing football. And he pitched through pain -- with screws in a knee -- his sophomore season.
"His [high school] career probably didn't go the way he wanted," SBA baseball coach Jonathan Adcock said. "He pitched a lot of big games for us as a freshman, but then he had all that rehab as a sophomore and again as a junior."
"This past season he came back and kicked and punted for us in football, and probably played a little more at defensive back than his mom would have liked, and played basketball too," Rogers said.
And then it was on to baseball season, which was his first without having to worry about rehab in two years. He responded with a 9-0 record and had two wins in the Seahawks' run to the Class A state final. He broke teammate Spencer Mossburg's strikeout record with 107 in 68 innings and held opponents to a .120 batting average.
While he also hit .321, it is as a right-handed pitcher that MTSU expects him to contribute.
"Not only is MTSU getting an outstanding pitcher but they're getting a solid Christian," Adcock said. "I think he'll impact their team in many ways and not just on the field. Though all the surgeries and rehab, I never saw him depressed. He always had such a great upbeat attitude and an awesome outlook. Things paid off for him his senior year."
The offer was late coming but was prompted by MTSU losing a team member and an incoming junior college signee to the pro baseball draft -- and Clements' state-tournament showing.
"One of their coaches was there for the state tournament and saw him pitch on two days' rest and throw 89 [mph] in the seventh inning," Adcock said.
With the Blue Raiders, Clements will be joining Kevin Dupree, a pitcher and first baseman from Ooltewah, and Jared Allen, the former Polk County star and University of Tennessee signee who spent last season at Walters State Community College.
Contact Ward Gossett at email@example.com or 423-886-4765.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...