Legionaires Alum Denzel Clarke Named Defensive Player of the Year!

by Ken Babcock

Oshawa Legioniares alum Denzel Clarke was named the NCAA Big West Conference DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR!  . The sophomore with Cal State Northridge University Matadors (NCAA D1) would post career-best numbers nearly across the board in 2021. In 38 games, the junior batted .324 with a personal-best 46 hits, 30 runs, 26 walks, 25 RBI, 15 stolen bases, 11 doubles and eight home runs. Clarke ranked third in the Big West in stolen bases, sixth in slugging percentage (.445), seventh in homers, eighth in on-base percentage (.570) and ninth in walks.

After a slow start to the season, Clarke raised his batting average from .192 on April 4 to as high as .364 during the middle of May. He recorded 11 multiple-hit games and seven multiple-RBI efforts while he posted the longest on-base streak of any Matador for the year at 22 games.

Clarke also provided the Matadors with stellar defense in center field throughout the season. He posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 115 chances and tallied two outfield assists. Clarke is the first Matador in team history to win a Big West Defensive Player of the Year award. He shares the award with Cal Poly's Myles Emmerseon and UC Irvine's Taishi Nakawake. Clarke is eligible again for the MLB draft this summer. After becoming a late round pick in the 2019 MLB draft, it is looking like Clarke will move up considerably in the 2021 Draft. The speedy sophomore center fielder played under Legionaires Head Coach Ken Babcock while in Oshawa