Starting center fielder Hayden Humphrey became another name added— to Clark’s baseball injury list on April 15 after twisting and spraining ligaments and dislocating his patella. The list also includes outfielder Reid Conlee, catcher Dane Stapley and pitcher Zack Robinson.
All of the starting outfielders have been on the injury list at some point this season; two remain.
Head coach Mark Magdaleno attributes the players’ injuries to the record rainfall this spring.
Rainy weather often forces the team indoors to its batting facility, the Lumberyard, or the O’Connell Sports Complex.
Magdaleno said the lack of outdoor practices have a direct correlation to the recent injuries.
Although Humphrey’s injury is not linked to indoor practice, recent rain led to poor field conditions.
“My back cleat got stuck in the mud and I still rotated,” Humphrey said.
With a recovery time of four to six weeks, Humphrey may not make a return to the team in time for their potential NWAC Championship games, scheduled for May 25-29, according to Magdaleno.
Humphrey’s absence leaves Clark without their cleanup hitter for the remainder of the season.
Humphrey, a Division I prospect, according to Magdaleno, is replaced by Ben Wagner when facing left handed pitchers, and Trey Reinhard against right handed pitchers.
“We’re replacing him with players that are talented but are carrying a heavy load,” Magdaleno said.
Stapley’s and Conlee’s hamstring injuries are applying the same heavy load to Nathaniel Affonso, the Penguins’ only remaining catcher, and outfielder Charles Clark Jr.
Affonso has caught 12 of the last 14 games, and on April 29-30 he caught four games in less than 30 hours, Magdaleno said. Affonso will likely play the position for the rest of the season.
If the team makes the NWAC Championships, Affonso and Clark may both play because Stapley’s and Conlee’s recoveries are touchy, Magdaleno said.
As of May 8, Clark is 8-12 and tied for fourth in the NWAC South Region, where the cutoff for the playoffs is fourth.
Clark and Chemeketa College were tied with four games remaining in the regular season, but the Penguins had not won consecutive games since April 9.