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James Clemens freshman Ethan Hopkins recently attended the USA Baseball NTIS Nationals held in Cary, N.C. The 14-year old also plays tight end of the freshman football team. Photo Contributed

Ethan Hopkins Plays In USA Baseball Nationals

Cary, N.C.- James Clemens freshman Ethan Hopkins recently competed in an elite baseball event where he was a member of the 18-player 15U Southeast Stripes as part of the USA Baseball NTIS (National Team Identification Series) Nationals held in Cary, N.C. He was selected from a tryout session earlier this summer and was evaluated by numerous scouts during the multi-day event which featured 12 teams from across the country with two teams each representing the six regions.

“I had a good time as there were a bunch of scouts attending and many of them gave us great advice on playing baseball and our possible future with the sport and college,” said Hopkins. “The attending coaches worked with me in many areas, especially with my hitting swing.”

The Southeast Stripes finished with a 2-2 record in the game competition of the Nationals where Hopkins played third base, pitcher and left and right field.

At the plate, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound slugger had eight at bats. He walked three times, was hit by a pitch, along with a single, sacrifice RBI and a couple hard-hit line outs. One of his drives was hauled in by the opposing outfielder who made a sensational play robbing Hopkins of an extra base hit. On the mound, the right-handed flamethrower pitched two and two-third innings in his first outing allowing no hits and surrendered two walks during the game the SE Stripes won the game against the MidWest Stripes 12-10. He was awarded the winning pitcher for his effort. His second outing against the South All-Stars was not as successful as he gave us two runs and three over one and one-third inning. In the field, the 14-year old had no errors with several putouts including two tremendous plays at third base, which received high praise from coaches of both squads.

“I was most recognized in my pitching and I feel good about the time I had on the mound,” added Hopkins. “I had two hard ground balls hit at me while I played third base and it was a chance to showcase my fielding and arm strength. At the plate, the scouts were more interested in my batting eye. I was able to see the ball well and had a few walks at the plate, which is the kind of action the scouts were closely looking at.”

Besides playing for the Knights South 16U Victus travel baseball team, regarded as one of the more elite squads in North Alabama, Hopkins also plays tight end on the James Clemens freshman football team, but he’s already prepping for his first season of high school baseball in the spring after two seasons at Discovery Middle School.

“The trip to the event I found to be amazing,” said Hopkins. “I heard the coaches talk about how we should carry ourselves on and off the field. It was truly a great experience.”

The organization will eventually select players to be a part of the USA Baseball Development Program with National Team Trials in the summer of 2023. If Hopkins is selected for further play, his time on the field would come in 2024.

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