May 28, 2009
WEST POINT â€” Army sophomore shortstop Clint Moore is one of the finest college baseball players in the nation, but he would never say that about himself.
Moore is humble and, like any good West Point cadet, he emphasizes team over individual accomplishments.
He can’t shake the fact, though, that he was one of 15 semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s top shortstop.
“It’s just an honor to be nominated as one of the top players,” said Moore, who was not among the award’s five finalists. “I’m just working hard. I give all the credit to the coaching staff. There’s preparation and practice and reps. It just kind of comes through.”
The nomination certainly hasn’t gone to his head.
“You just go out and play ball. What can you do?” he said.
Moore is batting .393 in 49 games, and .433 in Patriot League play. Among his 68 hits are 17 doubles, five triples and 10 homers, and he has driven in 60 runs.
He’s made only seven errors and has a sterling fielding percentage of .969.
He’s a major reason why Army was able to win the Patriot League championship and advance to this weekend’s NCAA regional at the University of Texas.
“Obviously, Clint Moore is an outstanding baseball player,” said Army coach Joe Sottolano. “He has the ability to slow the game down as well as anyone we’ve ever had in this program. He can hit all three pitches, and covers the field extremely well.”
“We have several players on this team that are capable of carrying a team on any given day. Clint is included amongst that group. He can do it both in the field and at the plate.”
Moore, of Greensboro, N.C., was the Patriot League rookie of the year in 2008 and earned freshman all-America status. He followed that with repeat first-team all-league honors this season while finishing second in the player of the year voting.
Moore has excellent range at shortstop and a strong arm. His power has improved, and he can drive the ball to all fields. Though only used four times this season, Moore can pitch out of the bullpen.
“I just play the game and have fun,” Moore said. “I try to be a team guy and play the game. The rest is what comes along with it.”
Moore fits in well with an Army lineup dominated by underclassmen. The Black Knights (34-19) head into the NCAAs having won 18 of their last 21 games.
“We have a lot of talent and we just run with it,” Moore said. “Once you get hot you kind of keep going with it and start winning games.”
Moore said getting a chance to play in the NCAA tournament “is like a dream come true,” and suggested the best thing Army can do is stick to the game plan.
“I guess when you get into the big games, there’s the initial shock,” Moore said. “It’s all about traveling through that, with your preparation and how you are going about your business. You don’t change anything.
“None of us have been there yet, so it will be a learning experience, but we would like to go down there and compete and see what happens. Hopefully we push through that initial shock and be competitive.”