Brewers' Clarke cracks 3 homers for Biloxi
Shortly before his late August promotion to Double-A, Wes Clarke’s hitting coach with the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Nick Stanley, suggested Clarke adjust his batting stance so that his hands were held higher. The intention was to free up his swing and promote athleticism. Clarke homered in his first game
Shortly before his late August promotion to Double-A, Wes Clarke’s hitting coach with the High-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, Nick Stanley, suggested Clarke adjust his batting stance so that his hands were held higher. The intention was to free up his swing and promote athleticism.
Clarke homered in his first game with the Biloxi Shuckers, so he permanently adopted the change. Less than two weeks later, it paid off in a big way.
After going deep on Friday, the 22-year-old turned up the heat with three home runs on Saturday night, leading the way in Biloxi’s 9-1 win over Mississippi.
“It feels great,” Clarke said. “It’s nice to see that the work is paying off. Everything is working, so it’s just really great.”
Clarke tagged Braves starter Nolan Kingham in the second and third innings, ensuring the first baseman’s second multihomer game of the year, following his effort for Wisconsin on June 11. Realizing the rare opportunity in front of him, Clarke went up to plate against reliever Jason Creasy in the sixth with his mind on the milestone.
“I’m thinking, ‘Early in the count I’m taking my hack, I’m gonna go for it,’” Clarke said. “Once I got to two strikes I was like, ‘I just need to get the barrel on the ball, no need to throw at-bats away just because you had some home runs.’ Then I got a changeup up and just hit it well.”
HE DOES IT AGAIN! His THIRD HR in his THIRD at-bat tonight!— Biloxi Shuckers (@BiloxiShuckers) September 11, 2022
Shuckers have now hit 146 home runs this year, a new franchise record! #ShuckYeah pic.twitter.com/1OpVcMYMfb
The Brewers’ 10th-round Draft pick in 2021 had notched the home run trifecta once before, at the University of South Carolina the spring before his selection.
Now, as Clarke approaches the end of his first full professional season, he not only matched the feat but put an exclamation point on a year that has only gotten better as it has unfolded. Following the historic night, Clarke is hitting .333 with a 1.179 OPS in nine games for the Shuckers and .284 with a .921 OPS in 32 games since returning from a stint on the injured list in July.
“I had an elbow injury that came up out of nowhere, even though I showed up everyday feeling fine,” Clarke said. “So the biggest takeaway I’ve had this year is that even if your body feels good to still do some pre-rehab, more preventative stuff. That’s helped in a big way.”
In addition to a milestone night for Clarke, it was a notable game for Biloxi as a whole. His third home run was the Shuckers’ 146th of the year, setting a single-season club record.
“It’s great playing with those guys,” Clarke said. “
Jacob Resnick is a contributor for MiLB.com.