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P.O. Male Athlete of the Week: Zach Clark

When you think about Southern Fulton pitching, you usually think about Trent Rider, a Division I commit and proven ace.

But here's something Rider's never done - strike out 17 batters in one game.

Zach Clark boasts that impressive stat. Clark fired a two-hitter at Rockwood in the opening round of the District 5 Class A baseball playoffs; combine that with a fine hitting effort, and Clark is the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week.

"I had to pick on Trent about it," SF coach Dustin Fischer said. "Zach was actually part of 18 of the 21 outs, and one (Rockwood) kid that was hitting almost .500 for the season - he's the one that got a real hit. The only other hit was a blooper, and we gave up an unearned run (in the 10-1 victory)."

Clark has thrown 32 2/3 innings for the Indians this season and boasts a 1.71 ERA. He nearly doubled his strikeout count against Rockwood, and now has fanned 41 on the season - second only to Rider.

"I feel like I was really locating the ball well that game," Clark said. "I definitely used the fastball, because their hands were slow. But I felt like I was in control, and it really helped when I went out in that first inning and struck out the first three in a row. That gave me a lot of confidence."

That trend continued for Clark in his stellar game against the Rockets. In his first at-bat, he smashed a double and never looked back. He finished the game 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.

"Throughout the whole season, I've kind of been struggling with the bat," Clark said. "Getting that first hit helped me get more confidence, and I was seeing the ball well."

Clark notched a team-high three RBIs that game as well.

"Whenever nobody is on, I just try to hit the ball as hard as I can," Clark said. "But if somebody is on in scoring position, I'm trying to get them in no matter what. Whether that means I have to squeeze bunt or whatever I have to do, because sometimes in games, all it takes is one run."

Zach Clark, Southern Fulton

Sport: Baseball

Grade: Senior

Position: Pitcher/centerfield

Parents: Steve and Jodi Clark.

Other interests: Zach also plays basketball for Southern Fulton, and is a member of McConnellsburg's Franklin County American Legion baseball team.

Surprising fact: He is pretty superstitious, so if he wears something one game and does well, he continues to wear it for the next game.

Favorite team: New York Yankees.

Athlete most admired: Kevin Durant.

Statistics: Clark threw a two-hitter in the first round of the District 5 Class A baseball playoffs, leading the Indians to a 10-1 win over Rockwood. He struck out 17 and walked just two, and also had a monster night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.