After a three-year baseball career at McDonough that culminated in an All-Met senior season, Clint Sanders went off to a very small school with a pretty big baseball reputation.
Potomac State College in Keyser, W. Va., won the Junior College World Series in 1995, and a junior college was just what Sanders was looking for in fall 1998.
Sanders enrolled and played outfield for Potomac State for two years -- sometimes starting, other times coming off the bench -- and earned an associate's degree in psychology.
Sanders said he learned a lot about the game from head coach Doug Little, but he also saw baseball there as a full-time job -- very serious, very rigorous, very regimented.
"I got a little bit burned out on it by the time the summer came around," Sanders recalled.
Eventually it came time for Sanders to enroll at a four-year college, and a number were interested in him.
The recruiting coordinator at Chowan College, an NCAA Division III school in Murfreesboro, N.C., watched Sanders play and liked what he saw. Sanders liked what he heard when they talked.
"There was a spot for me to play every day, and that's what it came down to," Sanders said. "I saw an opportunity to be more of a regular player than at Potomac State."
Sanders enrolled at Chowan, majoring in criminal justice. In 2001, his first season, he hit .259, drove in 23 runs and set a school record for walks in a season (34). Most important, baseball didn't feel like a job.
"We were still serious [about baseball] when we played, but we still knew it was a game and had fun," Sanders said.
Sanders was named team MVP as a senior in 2002. He was the only Chowan player to start all 41 games, was second on the team with a .372 batting average, tied for the team lead in hits (58), and had 32 RBI. His accomplishments earned him second-team All-Dixie Conference honors.
"My first year there, I was trying to make a place for myself," Sanders said. "My second year there I was more of a leader."
Sanders, 23, graduated in December and hopes to secure a job with a federal law enforcement agency such as the FBI or Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
In addition to riding his motorcycle, Sanders spends four to five days a week lifting weights and is looking into becoming licensed as a personal trainer.
He also continues to play baseball in the Charles-St. Mary's Men's League. He has played for Combine for the past two seasons, but this season will switch to the defending league champion Bumpy Oak Bombers.
"I like to win," Sanders said. "And I didn't want to totally give it up when I got out of college."
-- Dave Yanovitz