Cover Story

Wright City’s Clubb leaving name in record book


Not even halfway into her sophomore year, Lydia Clubb already holds three Wright City school records in two sports.

Wright City’s starting shortstop, Clubb broke the school home run and hit records this season for the Lady Wildcats. She hit 12 home runs, eclipsing the school’s previous record of eight. She had 48 hits this season to set a new school record. She also set the school record in the 4x400 relay last track season.

Clubb had a successful freshman season on the softball diamond. She finished with a .582 batting average, which is top-five in school history. She hit two home runs and had 39 hits last season. She finished this season with a .552 batting average. Clubb’s 1.161 slugging percentage this season was over .300 points higher than last season.

Clubb thinks strength training over the offseason and a change in approach helped her power numbers this past season.

“I’ve been working out a lot,” Clubb said. “That’s probably the main reason why. Using my legs more instead of all my arm power. Last year, I was just using all my arms. Now I’ve transferred that to my legs.”

Wright City softball and track and field coach Fred Ross believes Clubb’s work in the weight room was a big factor for her power surge. He also thinks Clubb was more selective when deciding which pitches to swing at this season. Ross said Clubb chases less bad pitches after being a little over anxious at the plate last season.

Ross also believes Clubb’s decision making at shortstop was better this season.
“You always want the kids to do the best they can and trying to make that extra effort,” Ross said. “A couple of times, she probably should have just shut it down and not made the throw or tried to make the throw. She’s done a much better job with that this year. It’s just another year of maturity.”

Clubb excels defensively at shortstop for the Lady Wildcats despite only playing the position for a couple years. She grew up playing outfield and catcher.

“Growing up, I never wanted anything to do with the infield until about two years ago,” Clubb said. “I started playing shortstop and I’m like this is the spot for me.”

Clubb played select softball growing up, which she believes helped prepare her to be successful on the diamond at the high school level. However, there was an adjustment to high school competition. Clubb saw slower pitching at the high school level than she did during the offseason.

Ross also saw the pitch speed difference as an area Clubb needed to adjust to during her freshman season.

“I think she knew she was a good player,” Ross said. “But to take it to the varsity level, it’s a little different than select ball. Because you’re playing around kids of all different levels. Not just all elite players.”

Clubb is a switch hitter, meaning she hits both right-handed and left-handed depending on the pitching matchup. Clubb thinks she has more power from the right side but sees benefits to hitting from the left side against left-handed pitching.

“Normally, if it’s a left-handed pitcher, they’re mostly going to throw inside on lefties. And I like the inside hitting left-handed. So that’s when I would go left-handed.”

Clubb thinks running track has helped her softball game to the next level. Track has helped her speed, she said.

Ross stressed the benefits of Clubb playing softball and running on the track team. As a softball, wrestling and track and field coach, Ross knows the benefits of an athlete playing multiple sports.

“I see too many kids get burned out in their sport before they make it to a senior in high school,” Ross said. “Or their body breaks down…You talk to college coaches, most of them are looking for multi-sport athletes.”

Ross added he thinks Clubb’s competitiveness helps her both on the track and on the softball diamond.

“She’s such a competitor and when you’re running in that race against other kids, she works hard to catch those kids or be closer to the lead because she doesn’t want to let her teammates down,” Ross said. “And she’s like that here as well. She just loves softball and loves to have fun.”

Clubb credited her parents for helping her get to where she is as a softball player. She noted the time and money they have dedicated to help her grow as a softball player.
“They spent so much time getting me into softball,” Clubb said. “They spent so much money on it too. Encouraging me every at bat. Finding the small things I’m doing wrong to help me do it right next time.”

Clubb’s long-term softball goals at Wright City are for the team to win the EMO conference crown and to individually earn all-state honors. She was recently named to the conference’s first team.

Ross thinks with Clubb’s talent and work ethic, she will start getting noticed by colleges soon.

“With her work ethic, she’s going to start getting more and more attention from colleges to play ball somewhere at the next level,” Ross said. “She’s that good and I think she’s still got some steps to take. I still think she can expand on her game.”