HJ - A's Bonner slide

Beating the tag for the Clarinda A’s is Reid Bonner as he slides into second base against the Omaha Strike Zone Saturday, June 16, as part of Baseball Day. The A’s struck for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and went on to post a 12-5 win over the Strike Zone.(Herald-Journal photo by Joe Moore)

Determined to infuse the lineup with top notch talent, Clarinda A’s General Manager Rod Eberly has recruited 11 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I players to Clarinda this season.

“Our goal was to try to get some higher level talent back into the program and I feel we did that,” Eberly said.

The A’s opened the 2019 season at home Wednesday, May 29, with a non-league game against Granger. Clarinda will be on the road for four league contests in St. Joseph, Missouri; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Chillicothe, Missouri, before returning home Tuesday, June 4, to play Chillicothe. This is the 65th season for the A’s.

“We’re excited about our 65th season and are pleased the community continues to support us. I hope everyone comes out to watch some games,” Eberly said.

Ryan Eberly returns to the dugout as the Clarinda manager. Joining him on the bench will be pitching coach Tyler Sweezey. Sweezey serves as an assistant coach at Highland Community College in Highland, Kansas.

Former Major League Baseball and Clarinda A’s star Von Hayes will also helping the team in some capacity during the season.

Eberly said the 11 Division 1 players that will be joining the A’s roster this season come from such schools as Alabama, Creighton, Jacksonville State, St. Mary’s College of California and Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“All of those schools have won their conference and could make a regional. So that could delay their arrival until the middle of June,” Eberly said.

The A’s will round out the roster with a mix of quality NCAA Division II and junior college players. Those players include a second baseman from Division II powerhouse Central Missouri State and Bryce Neal, a Clarinda High School graduate now playing for Northwest Missouri State.

Eberly said the outfielders for the A’s are all NCAA Division I players that start for their college teams. Meanwhile, Clarinda will have good diversity in the infield as many of the players have the ability to play multiple positions.

“I think we’re going to rely on more of a speed game. We’ll know more when they get the wooden bats in their hands. We have some speed guys and some gap hitters that should produce a lot of doubles, so it should be exciting to watch,” Eberly said.

On the mound, the A’s will be able to run out four or five NCAA Division I pitchers. However, the staff is primarily right handed.

“We’re a little low on numbers and are looking to strengthen our staff with some more arms. We only have two left handed pitchers, so well have to see how that plays out. We’re excited to see how these guys do,” Eberly said.

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