Reed Avers is, for now, an average high school baseball player hoping to land a steady gig as a starting infielder. Or outfielder. Or anywhere his coach Ken Clawson will place him in the lineup.
But recently in a game against Gibbs, Avers accomplished something not only did he not envision reaching, but none of his teammates or coaches can recall ever seeing.
In the first inning Avers, who batted second in the Tornadoes lineup, had three hits, two RBIs and scored two runs.
"I've dreamed of a lot of things but to get three hits in an inning, nah, I never thought of that," Avers said. "I've never heard of this, not even in Little League."
The feat was so impressive to Avers, a sophomore, he couldn't ever remember getting two hits in an inning before, much less three.
"I don't think I've even had two at-bats in an inning," Avers said.
Clawson believes the three hits weren't a fluke, even though getting to the plate three times in an inning is.
"His first hit was one up the middle and two sharp liners to right," Clawson said. "It was a good piece of hitting each time. He's a right-handed batter and he stayed back on each of the pitches."
While remarkable, Avers' feat didn't come close to tying or setting a national record. Per the National High School Sports Record Book, Lawrence Buell of Middlesboro (Ken.) High School racked up five hits in an inning against Pineville (Ken) High School in April 1984.
But Clawson believes there was another factor at play. Part of the reason the Tornadoes jumped all over the Gladiators in the first inning was circumstances beyond anyone's control.
The previous evening before the game, Gibbs student Nicholas Lindsey was arrested and charged with the killing of St. Petersburg policeman David Crawford, who just happened to be a golfing friend of the Gibbs' coach.
Additionally, Clawson noticed the Gladiators didn't seem to be mentally in the game.
"Probably [Lindsey] might have been friends with a couple of the players," Clawson said.
Clearwater plays at East Lake at 7 tonight.