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This article appeared in the game day guides during the 2013 season for the minor league baseball team Sugarland Skeeters.

All Roads Lead to Texas

Clint Everts returns to play ball at home for the first time in 12 years

By: Brittaney Wilmore

Only nine Texans are on the 2013 Skeeters roster and Clint Everts is one of them. However, his hometown ties go deeper than being a Bayou City native. Clint was also the classmate of current Cleveland Indians pitcher and the first member of the Skeeters to make it to the big leagues, Scott Kazmir. Both attended Cypress Falls High School and became the fourth pair of teammates from a single high school to be chosen in the first round of the baseball draft. Clint even admits he and Kazmir had a little friendly competition back in the day.

“…Two pitchers just kind of pushing each other every start,” he said. “He’d have 15 strikeouts and I’d have 16, then he’d have 17. He’s doing well right now with Cleveland, and I’m real happy for him.”

Although Kazmir is gone, Clint definitely comes home to good company. In fact, he played with current teammates Roy Corcoran during his time with the Montreal Expos and with Jason Lane, for the Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.  Familiar faces will continue to greet him now.

“I get to see my family, my 11-month-old daughter,” Clint said. “I don’t have to be away from home seven months out of the year, I only have to be away for like a week or two at a time, so it’s good.”

The newest addition to the Sugarland Skeeters roster wasted no time making an impact. The 6’2, 195-pound right-handed pitcher made his debut with the team June 10. In that first appearance, Clint joined the rally in the seventh inning to relieve RHP and former Houston Astro Scott Elarton. Clint went three innings, allowing three runs, on two hits, with one strikeout. A week later, he helped his team to victory by grabbing a win in relief.

Clint comes to the Skeeters with over 10 years of experience in professional baseball. He kicked off his career with the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) in the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft where he was a first round pick (fifth overall). The next two years (2003 and 2004) would prove promising for Clint, as Baseball America named him to their top prospects list.

In 2003, he began with the Expo’s affiliate at Vermont (Rookie-Ball) and finished the year playing Low-A in the Sally League for the Savannah Sand Gnats with a 0-3 record, a 3.46 ERA, went 26 innings in five games, had 23 hits, 10 walks and 21 strikeouts. The next year with the Gnats, his record improved to 7-3 as he started 17 games, pitched 90 1/3 innings, on 67 hits, allowed 21 walks, and threw 103 strikeouts.

In September of 2004, as the Expos relocated to Washington D.C. to become the Nationals, Clint underwent a transformation of his own. He had Tommy John surgery after noticeable drops in the velocity of his fastball and curveball. Just 19-years-old at the time, he went through the rehab process but became frustrated when he returned to the game and found that his arm had not healed as quickly as expected.

“I fell into some bad habits with my mechanics, and it literally took two to three years for me to finally feel like I was actually throwing the ball well again,” Clint said.

But he stuck with it, grinded through the whole process, recovered and went on to continue under the  now Washington Nationals farm system for a four-year pitching stint. The opportunity for Clint to sign a contract with another Major League ball club came in March of 2010 when he made the jump to the New York Mets through free agency.

However, the Toronto Blue Jays acquired him a few months later in
a trade with the Mets for outfielder Jorge Padilla. Clint would spend the next three seasons pitching for Jays’ affiliates in Las Vegas and New Hampshire. He finished his stretch with the Blue Jays organization, as a Buffalo Bison before being released by the Herd in May.

Just as one door closed, another one opened – and this time, the Skeeters came knocking. So far this season, Clint is 2-1, has pitched thirteen innings in nine games, allowed two walks, retired nine batters and holds a 2.08 ERA (as of July 8). The 28-year-old says he finds it refreshing that all his new teammates want to do is win.

Clint just loves the game, and that’s why he started playing it in the first place. He used to participate in little league and played T-ball at the Oaks Dads Club in North Houston.

Now, this homegrown Skeeter has a few words of advice for up-and-coming baseball players. “I would tell them to enjoy it. Have fun with it. Don’t ever make it like it’s your job.”

Welcome back, Clint.

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