BY STEVE KRAH
Clay Dungan has been a constant for the Indiana State University baseball team the past four seasons.
Heading into the Sycamores’ Friday-Saturday-Sunday Missouri Valley Conference series at Dallas Baptist, the senior has played in 200 career games, including 191 as a starter.
Playing shortstop and batting lead-off in 2019, Dungan is hitting .295, seven home runs, eight doubles, two triples, 27 runs batted in, 40 runs scored, .402 on-base percentage and is 6-of-6 in stolen base attempts.
“He’s just kind of been our catalyst,” says ISU head coach Mitch Hannahs. “He’s kind of the straw that stirs the drink for us.
“He’s just a very level-headed, consistent player that’s been good for us for four years. When he’s swinging it well and playing well, our club follows.”
Hannahs and hitting coach Brian Smiley have been working with the lefty-swinging Dungan about taking the ball to the opposite field, but they have also witnessed pull-side power from the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder.
“For the most part, he’s looking for a pitch he can drive early in the count and driving to move the baseball,” says Hannahs.
What does the 22-year old see as his part for the Trees?
“My role on this team is to be a leader,” says Dungan, a Yorktown (Ind.) High School graduate. “I’m a guy who’s been here for a long time. I set the table for everybody at the beginning of the order and play good defense out there for my pitchers.”
Dungan has continued working in the field. The 2018 season was the first time in college he played shortstop, making the move over from second base.
At the plate, Dungan was usually in the third or fourth slot in the batting order before being asked to replace departing players at the top.
Dungan appreciates Hannahs’ approach to leading Indiana State (34-11, 11-4).
“He’s straight forward,” says Dungan of Hannahs. “He expects a lot out of you and pushes you.
“That’s what I like in a coach.”
Last summer, Dungan played 41 games and hit .354 with two homers, 10 doubles, two triples and 34 RBIs for the Savannah (Ga.) Bananas of the summer collegiate Coastal Plain League.
Dungan played at Yorktown for head coach Mike Larrabee.
“He was just a great guy and a great role model to play for,” says Dungan of Larrabee. “He always preached playing the game the right way and that stuck with me.”
As a Yorktown Tiger, Dungan earned four letters in baseball and two in football. He batted .488 with two bikers, nine doubles. five triples and 38 RBIs and was an all-state honoree and Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Series as a senior in 2015. He was named series MVP.
Dungan, who turns 23 on June 2, is majoring in physical education. The son of Tony and Carolyn Dungan needs to do his student teaching next year to finish his ISU degree.
Senior Clay Dungan is the starting shortstop for the Indiana State University baseball team. The Sycamores are 34-11 overall and 11-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference. (Indiana State University Photo)
As the lead-off hitter, lefty-swinging senior Clay Dungan is a catalyst for the Indiana State University baseball team in 2019. (Indiana State University Photo)
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