Excelling at JUCO level: Clarke, Lloyd, Pelletier, Robinson
May 4, 2016
2014 juniors terrorizing junior college pitching
By Adam Morissette
OTTAWA – The 2014 edition of the Junior National Team will be best remembered for winning a bronze medal at the COPABE 18U Pan American “AA” Championships in La Paz, Mex. that earned Canada a spot in the 2015 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup and also surviving Hurricane Odile that delayed the teams’ departure from the country.
Four players from that squad, OF Tristan Clarke, INF Matt Lloyd, 2B LP Pelletier and 3B Mitch Robinson, moved on to college ball following the bronze medal and are currently putting up ridiculous offensive numbers at their respective junior colleges.
Clarke (Brampton, Ont.), is in his second season at Eastern Oklahoma State and has been on a roll since the beginning of the season when he homered in each of Mountaineers’ first three games. Clarke hit safely in the Mountaineers’ first 19 games and has recorded 15 multi-hit games. He’s currently hitting .393 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI to go along with 11 stolen bases in 47 games played. Clarke is committed to the University of New Orleans for the 2017 season.
Lloyd (Okotoks, Alta.) underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2014 campaign that caused him to miss the 2015 season with Junior College powerhouse, Iowa Western. Lloyd has made a seamless transition back to the baseball diamond since his return contributing to the Reivers success on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he’s hitting .416 with seven home runs and 53 RBI, and also has seven stolen bases. To make matters more impressive, Lloyd is 7-0 on the mound in ten appearances including eight starts and has a 2.61 ERA with 50 strikeouts over 41.1 innings pitched. He is committed to the University of Indiana for the 2017 season.
Mitch Robinson (Surrey, BC) opted to leave Florida International University following the 2015 season and headed to Central Arizona College where he’s at or near the top of virtually every offensive category for the Vaqueros. A 2014 draft choice of the Miami Marlins, Robinson is hitting .382 in 54 games and has nine home runs and 59 RBI with an OPS of 1.047. Robinson has had driven in more than one run in a game on 14 occasions and has hit safely in all but 10 of his 54 games played.
Perhaps the biggest Canadian story coming out of Junior College baseball is taking place at Seminole State College in Oklahoma where three natives of Québec, including Junior National Team alum LP Pelletier, are lighting it up for the Trojans. Pelletier, who is joined by teammates Abraham Toro and Philippe Berthiuame, is having a monster season as he belted 23 home runs and driven in 59 runs while hitting .467. His OPS is an off the charts 1.474 and he’s added 14 stolen bases in 46 games played for good measure. Not far behind Pelletier are Toro who is hitting .438 with 17 home runs and 77 RBI, while Berthiuame has contributed eight home runs and 36 RBIs to go along with a .396 batting average. The Trojans are currently 37-10 and are ranked sixth in the nation.
Worthy of a mention, and also a member of the 2014 junior team, is Charles LeBlanc, a sophomore shortstop at the University of Pittsburgh. LeBlanc has been on a tear all season long and is currently among the top ten hitters in all of Division 1 college baseball with a .426 average with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season.