Outfielder Ted Downing (’18) has given Clark Baseball exactly what it needs from the third spot in the batting order. In 91 at-bats this season, Downing’s on base percentage of .481 places him at seventh in the NEWMAC conference, and his slugging percentage of .517 places him at eighth. He is a major part of why the team is 17-6 and has high hopes for the conference championships.
Scarlet: How is the season going?
Downing: The season has been going pretty well. We’ve gotten off to a better start than I think the program’s ever been off to. We did really well in Florida, [then got off to] a bit of a bumpy start to conference play against Wheaton and Emerson, but we rebounded against MIT and I think we’ve been playing really well.
Scarlet: What has been your favorite moment of this season?
Downing: We’ve had some walk-off wins against Keene State and against Beloit, but I would say my favorite game was against New England College. It was a five-hour game, a lot of back and forth. They took a lead, then we took a lead. It was fourteen innings and everyone was spent, so to come out with a win, that game was big for us.
Scarlet: Who has been your role model in terms of baseball?
Downing: The person that’s probably helped me the most to get to where I am is my dad. He’s kind of coached me up since I was younger. He’s probably the person whose advice I take most seriously, so he’s had the biggest impact on my baseball career.
Scarlet: What’s the hardest part of baseball for you?
Downing: Dealing with all the failure. There’s a lot of inherent failure in the sport. Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that it’s not the end of the world if you strike out, you have a lot of chances to redeem yourself. And also, it’s a game, so you have to make sure you keep everything in perspective, not get too down, because that’s when things start to spiral downwards.
Scarlet: Does the team have any pregame rituals?
Downing: We all have handshakes, and some have weird superstitions around them, like maybe they will help us at an at-bat or something. But I’m not too superstitious. I know most baseball players are.
Scarlet: What’s your favorite part of being on Clark Baseball?
Downing: I would say the camaraderie that we all have. It’s a really tight knit group of guys, we all spend a lot of time with each other. We have some really funny kids on the team, so being around them every day is fun.
Scarlet: What is it like having almost half the team be first-years?
Downing: Yeah, we’ve got like 15 or 16 first-years. They’re all really good kids, and they’ve been major contributors to the team. They fit in real well, and I think they’ve been great. They’ve all been anything you could ask of them.
Scarlet: What differences have you noticed since Head Coach JP Pyne took over last season?
Downing: I would say the attitude change is the biggest thing. We’re not accepting the years in the past where the team was under .500 a lot and we weren’t making playoffs and stuff like that. It’s kind of been a culture change, and we’re all really trying to push towards winning. The overall dedication of everyone has gone up a bit.
Scarlet: What are you looking forward to most about the rest of the season?
Downing: I think we still don’t know how good our team is, necessarily, so it will be good to find out exactly who we are as a team. I think we have an opportunity in these next coming games to make our big push for the NEWMACs and get good seeding for the playoffs, and hopefully make some noise there.
Scarlet: When interviewing Tyler Hutchinson (’17) last year, he expressed concern that you may have a chocolate milk problem. Is this true?
Downing: I do like chocolate milk. I drink a lot of chocolate milk … breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Thanks for the interview, Ted!