Young put up incredible statistics every season, including 2013 when his role changed again.
“I struggled a little bit at first trying to figure out my role. Over the last few years I’ve had to carry the team a little more on my back, but this year was a lot different than the last few years,” Young said. “There were a lot of kids that stepped up, and I didn’t have to do as much.”
Nonetheless, Young is still The Anniston Star’s All-Area baseball player of the year after leading Ranburne in nearly every offensive category. The catcher hit .465 with 40 hits, including six doubles and three home runs, and recorded 28 runs and 27 RBIs. He also had an on-base percentage of .565.
“When he was younger and in the eighth and ninth grades we could afford to hit him in the sixth hole and see a lot of fastballs,” said Ranburne coach Chad Young, who is Clayton’s father. “I don’t think he’s hit below .350 in his career. His career average is around .420 over the five-year period.”
Along with holding the school record for career batting average, Clayton Young also holds school records for career RBIs and home runs.
“He actually broke my career home run record about midway through the season,” Chad Young said. “He leads the school in all three, and there are some very good players that have come through our school in the last 10 years.”
Defensively, Clayton Young has remained exclusively behind the plate the past five years. The decision the play catcher came when Clayton was 7 or 8, the coach said, when his son asked what position would allow him to contribute the quickest at the high school level.
“I said it’s obviously catcher. In high school, it’s more about being a good receiver, watching the ball and keeping the ball in front of you,” Chad Young said. “But since 7 or 8 years old, he’s been at catcher. He’s always ripped me pretty good about not being able to play something other than
catcher, but there’s always been a case where we couldn’t take him out from behind the plate.”
With Young helping lead the way, Ranburne had a good season in 2013. With the help of underclassman, the Bulldogs went to the quarterfinals of the Class 2A playoffs, eventually losing to eventual state champion Westbrook Christian.
“We had so many younger players last year and just to see them grow up and play well for us is what made the season special,” Clayton Young said. “The juniors also stepped up into a senior role since there were only three of us. They had to. And our ninth and 10th graders played as well as ninth and 10th graders can.”
Now graduated from Ranburne with a large legacy left behind, Clayton Young will attend Gadsden State in the fall. He is looking toward majoring in education and plans to coach one day.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.