The Brighton senior verbally commits to the University of Virginia. The shortstop hit .528, 23 RBI and had zero strikeouts as he earned Monroe County Division II Player of the Year last spring.
Ernie Clement’s speed on the basepaths and strong arm in the infield made him a target of colleges all around the country throughout his high school career. For the soon-to-be Brighton senior though, one school was clearly a frontrunner.
Fortunately for Clement, his dream school, the University of Virginia, was one of his many suitors. Heading into his final year of high school he won’t have to worry about where he will be playing baseball in college.
Clement gave his verbal commitment to UVA earlier this summer. The shortstop is coming off a season where he was named Monroe County Division II player of the year after hitting .528, which included 23 RBI.
“It has been a dream of mine for a long time to go to Virginia,” Clement said. “It’s a great school academically, and the baseball program has a tremendous record in the ACC. It’s a great college and I am really excited for this opportunity.”
Clement joins a growing list of former Section 5 standouts to play Division I baseball including Conner Simonetti (Fairport to Kent State), Jason Kanzler (Penfield to Buffalo) and Grant Heyman (Pittsford Sutherland to Miami). He is hoping to have something else in common with those players; getting picked in the MLB Draft.
Clement zeroed in on Virginia early in his college search, going to a camp on the Charlottesville campus last year and a showcase tournament with Cavalier coaches last month.
“Just being able to play at all would be incredible,” Clement said. “It doesn’t matter to me where I play. I have played all over the field, but I feel like no matter where I play I feel like I can make the right adjustments.”
Clement is hoping to play shortstop in college but has shown range throughout his career. He has played second base in high school and center field during the summer with the Rayson Miller American Legion team.
Clement’s quickness makes him ideal for the top of the lineup, but his greatest asset might be his patience at the plate. He didn’t strike out in any of his plate appearances his junior season.
“I feel like can get to first on any ground ball,” Clement said. “Right now I am just trying to get bigger, hopefully hit some more home runs.”
Clement quickly made an impression in Section 5 earning a spot on the Barons varsity team as a freshman. The move paid off; he played all 20 games with Brighton and after the starting season batting ninth in the lineup, he finished the year hitting leadoff.
“Athletically, he was a varsity-level player at a young age,” said Jason Wasserman, Barons head coach. “He got along with everybody and the kids on the team welcomed him in. We tried to keep the pressure off him at a young age, and that helped him move through our lineup.”