East’s Stallings signs to play baseball in Danville (Illinois)

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – Having a friend in the right place paid dividends for Bullitt East baseball standout Clayton Stallings this summer as a well-placed word with the right coach got the second baseman an invite to a successful junior college program.

It was the middle of summer and Stallings, despite a strong showing in the Kentucky State Baseball Tournament, helping his team to within one game of the state final, had received little attention from colleges. Must of that was due to a broken head that sidelined him for more than half of the season.

Then, this summer, Stallings turned to Tyler Minogue, a former Bullitt East standout who ended up playing for two seasons at Danville Area Community College in Illinois before transferring and playing two seasons for Bellarmine. Minogue mentioned Stallings’ name to Danville head coach Tim Bunton.

That was all it took. Bunton made a few phone calls and then made contact with Stallings and a deal was struck.

“I was at the beach,” Stallings admitted of getting the first phone call from Bunton while he was on vacation with his family.

Stallings did seek out Danville after doing some research. He then contacted Minogue for a helping hand about the same time he contacted the school.

“I didn’t have any other offers,” the senior said.

“Tyler helped me out,” Stallings added. “I asked him to put in a good word for me and he did.”

It turned out to be one stop shopping for college. At this late date, Stallings visited the school, got an offer, accepted the offer and signed up for classes plus got an apartment all on the same visit.

Stallings was going to attend Jefferson Community and Technical College.

The 18-year-old is the son of Chris and Missy Stallings.

At this point, Stallings is hoping that his education leads to a degree in physical education. Stallings would like to be a 

coach, something that he knows well as his father is Chris Stallings, the long-time Bullitt East Lady Charger head coach and his older sister Katie, is the assistant coach with the girls’ program at Mount Washington Middle School. His father was a physical education teacher before retiring at the end of the last school year.

Bunton and his coaching staff never saw Stallings play, but after talking with Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles and Minogue, it appears that the school recruited him to play second base.

“They mentioned middle infield, but I prefer playing at second base,” the player said. “I love playing second base.”

After returning from the hand injury this season, Stallings moved into the spot at second base and batted ninth in the line-up. At both the Sixth Region Tournament and the state tournament, Stallings made a number of slick fielding plays at second base. He also had a hit that plated the winning run in the first game in Lexington.

IN the short season, Stallings ended up with a .345 batting average with 58 at-bats. He finished with 20 hits including two doubles and a triple. He did drive in 15 runs and he walked three times with three stolen bases.

Baseball for Stallings started in the Mount Washington Youth Baseball and Softball League and through that he played with both the league’s All-Star teams as well as the Mudcat traveling teams. By the time he was in the eighth-grade he was playing at Bullitt East and he was part of the varsity by the time he was a sophomore.

Bowles feels that Stallings can play at the college level on defense right away, but that he will need to grow into a hitter at the next level.

“They asked about his glove first,” the Charger coach said. “I said he ruled the middle and did a great job for us.

“I don’t know what they ask for but defensively he can play at that level,” Bowles added. “He was getting his stick back for us after hurting his hand. He has the work ethic and the tools to get better.”