By Datti Jinkiri
2022 was the beginning of the second Sam Temple era at Clinton High School. The Arrows’ baseball coach first served as the team’s head coach twenty years ago. Now, with many years of college baseball success under his belt, Temple returned to Arrow Drive.
The Arrows finished this past season with a 15-11 record. Despite winning their first playoff game since 2017, the team fell to Center Hill in a tough three-game series in the first round of the MHSAA Class 6A Playoffs. But even though the team didn’t make it as far in the postseason as they would have liked, Temple was happy about leading the team and being able to have a hand in building the city’s baseball programs.
“I really enjoy working with such great coaches and players,” Temple stated.
“Being able to work for a wonderful school district and community that supports athletics has been a great pleasure. Working to build the overall program (high school, junior varsity, ninth grade, and junior high teams) has also been very rewarding.”
The Arrows had some high-powered offensive games this season, scoring eight or more runs in ten games. Eight of those games saw them hit the double-digit mark.
Individually, four players (Tyler Janos, A.J. Seiter, Cole Manuel, Grant Holmes) reached the 20-RBI mark this season. Ashton Johnson (.438) and Manuel (.421) had hot bats all year, as they paced the team in the batting average department. Johnson’s on-base percentage of .517 was also the best on the team.
Manuel was also the team’s main ace on the mound, making eight starts and pitching 49.1 innings. He had a 2.98 earned run average (ERA) and finished with a 4-2 record. Holmes and Charles Chisholm combined for 21 appearances and finished with a joint 6-5 record on the mound.
Defensively, Kette Stavely led the team with 48 assists. Janos had 144 putouts, giving him the team lead in that category. Manuel impressively had a 1.000 fielding percentage in 76 total chances, pacing the team in that category.
Overall, the 2022 season was a year of improvements for Temple and his Arrows. The team’s batting average improved from .271 in 2021 to .332 this season. Slugging percentage – which represents the number of bases a player records per at-bat – jumped 75 points from .378 to .453. The team’s ERA decreased from 4.73 to 3.37. The team also improved its aggression on the basepaths, increasing its stolen bases from 76 to 106. According to Temple, there’s more success to come from this group of players.
“The players are eager to work hard and learn about the game,” he said.
“They need time, practice, and a lot of games for the future. I’m excited that there is a great desire for success that is built through their hard work.”
Holmes and Janos signed to play with Hinds Community College next season. Johnson, Tytrez Carr, and Parker Fulton will also be graduating, but the team will have twelve seniors next season.
“We are graduating some great seniors with a lot of experience, but we have many underclassmen that played in big roles on our team both as position players and pitchers,” Temple stated.
“We are returning a big group of seniors that will continue to get better and show leadership for the up coming year.”