Q&A With Oregon State Commit Zach Clayton

By Matt Huck
Area Scout

Zach Clayton recently committed to Oregon State University. Clayton is currently ranked No. 9 in the Wisconsin Class of 2017. Here is a report on Clayton from this years PBR Future Games in Westfield, Indiana.

Zach Clayton6-foot-2, 200-pound, right-handed hitting shortstop with a strong, athletic frame. First Team Wisconsin player to commit after the Future Games, committing to Oregon State. Sold runner running the 60 at 6.91. At the plate hits from a tall, balanced setup with a short stride and leg lift trigger. Short, level swing path. Went 1-7 in games with a run scored. Defensively took drills at shortstop has a short arm action from a ¾ arm slot. Good body control with solid lateral agility. Threw 84 mph across the infield. Projects for third base and shows the athleticism to play a corner outfield spot as well.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Clayton: I wasn't really sure what to expect when it came to the recruiting process. I guess I was extremely nervous about it and was a little stressed too. I didn't know if things were going to go smoothly or if it would hard. In the end it turned out pretty easy, because I found a college that I wanted to play at and enjoyed everything about the college.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Clayton: I wanted to find a college that was going to win, I wanted to be on a team where every single year we are competing for a chance to go to the College World Series, and with Oregon State, that goal is achievable every year. Not only do I want to win, but I want to be with coaches that I connect with and have a good relationship with and want to play for. Every single coach there I loved being around and I connected with them easily. I also wanted to be on a campus that I wouldn't have a problem living on, and at OSU there's not a reason not to love the campus.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Clayton: Oregon State is very far from my home, and being so far away from home will take a little time to get used to, but in the end I wanted to do what was best for me and take this opportunity that I have and make the most of it, going to OSU will be an amazing experience, and I can't wait to get out there.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Clayton: My recruiting process mostly started over the winter when I began to workout and play with STiKS Academy. With a lot of hard work over the winter and my coach reaching out to colleges for me to get some attention. Also, the PBR Future Games helped me get a lot of attention too.

PBR: Where did the college you chose first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Clayton: OSU first saw me at STiKS Academy where assistant coach Andy Jenkins came out here to visit his brother who happens to be our Demarini rep, and so he held a camp at STiKS for a day. After the camp he invited me to come out. I attended a camp at OSU back in January and after that camp I would call assistant coach Pat Bailey to develop a relationship and we would send in video so they could see my progress. So then they invited me to their prospect camp this past weekend and in the end it turned out great.

PBR:  What do you like most about the college you committed to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Clayton: It was a college that I felt comfortable at, the campus, the coaches, and the facilities were all very intriguing, when I was there I didn't feel like I wanted to go home. OSU is just a good fit for me.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Clayton: Well I had just finished the Future Games so I was just starting to get in contact with some colleges, University of North Carolina, Ohio University, Southern Illinois University, and Illinois State University. I didn't talk to them for long because I had just stated contacting them after the Future Games.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Clayton: Well I'm going to have to pick a pitcher from a hitters stand point, I would have to say the hardest pitcher I faced this year was Ryan Schmitt from Arrowhead, he throws about 90 with a filthy breaking pitch that catches you off guard, he's a good player with a big future and it was fun going against him

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Clayton: It was probably after my freshman year that I started pursuing my goal to play college baseball, I had a very good freshman year and then later on after summer Sean Smith started working with me and had me play with the U17/U18 STiKS team and he made that goal that I had a very realistic one.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Clayton: I would say work hard every single day because you only have one chance at getting a baseball scholarship, so work hard everyday, and I would also suggest playing multiple sports. Playing multiple sports makes you a better all around athlete and brings a different mentality into the game. I myself play football and basketball and I firmly believe that those two sports helped me with baseball making me a better athlete.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Clayton: My most memorable moment was my past season with Oconomowoc, when we made it to the state tournament. It was probably the most exciting memory I have in baseball, and the teammates I got to experience it with made it even better, they are a great group of teammates and I can't wait to play with them again this next season. We have great team chemistry and we can do big things as a team.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals? 

Clayton: I think we have a very good chance at repeating what we did last year, we are losing 2 seniors that were big impact last year, but I think we can do what we did last season or go even further. Our goal is always to win championships, and that's a very realistic goal.

PBR:  Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Clayton: As I mentioned before I play for STiKS Academy And my favorite memories were just being with the guys on the team every weekend was one to remember and we all just had fun playing the game, but if I had to pick a certain memory, it would have to be against GRB in Ripon. I wasn't hitting very well in that game, and my teammate Connor Moroder came up to me and gave me a pep talk and at this point we were in the last inning and we were down by 1, and when I got up, I hit a home run and we ended up tying the game. Connor then told me it was the best pep talk he has ever given, it was a fun memory.

Related Content


----9.20.15 WI USS games slide - 9.20.15USSgamesSLIDE_final.jpg