Cambridge grads Trent Valentine, Garth Charlton and Sean Perkins finding success at collegiate baseball level
Garth Charlton, Trent Valentine and Sean Perkins are excelling in collegiate baseball
The Daily Jeffersonian
A trio of former Cambridge High baseball standouts are finding success at the next level with their respective collegiate teams this spring.
Garth Charlton, Trent Valentine and Sean Perkins are each making their marks in college baseball which gives the Cambridge baseball program a sense of great pride, according to head coach Jamaal Lowery.
Lowery coached each of the former Bobcats, with Perkins a key contributor on last season's district championship team. During Valentine and Charlton's playing days at CHS, Lowery was an assistant coach under his brother Josh, who served as head coach from 2015 to 2017.
"I got the privilege to coach all three of these young men," Lowery said. "What it means to see more than one of our alumni being successful at the next level speaks volumes of where this program is headed."
Valentine, a 2019 CHS graduate, is having a breakout season for Marietta College, which sports an impressive 21-3 record on the season. Valentine has become the Pioneers' ace by putting together a perfect 7-0 pitching mark that has him tied atop the national leaders in NCAA Division III statistics.
Marietta College is a NCAA Division III member school and competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
In his 38 innings pitched, Valentine has a sparkling 1.18 ERA with 42 Ks and just 10 free passes issued. Valentine expressed being the 'Big Dog' that his Marietta squad can lean on when he takes the mound is a good feeling.
"It feels great to be the guy for our team," Valentine offered. "I feel as though our team plays better when I am on the mound, especially our defense. They are always out there making great plays behind me.
"I have the utmost confidence in my teammates," Valentine added. "I could not have the success without those guys fielding, throwing and catching everything that comes their way. It gives me confidence that I can throw strikes."
For Valentine, simply throwing strikes is something he points to as being a catalyst for his successful season on the mound for the Pioneers.
"Filling up the strike zone, that was my problem last year," Valentine explained. "I believe my stuff is good enough to test anyone in the country. I just needed to trust my stuff and my teammates and throw strikes more consistently.
"And that is what I have been able to accomplish this year so far and it's worked out well," Valentine said. "Just trusting my pitches, knowing that they are good enough to get really good hitters out with the help of my defense."
Valentine, who is a health science major with a minor in coaching, explained that being an athlete and a full-time student in the science field can be challenging.
"School is great, but can be tough, at times, juggling being a full time student and an athlete," Valentine stated. "A lot of late nights and early mornings for me, but it is what I signed up to do. It's mostly about keeping up with good time management and being disciplined to make sure things get done."
For Charlton, a 2017 Cambridge graduate, this season started with a change of scenery. After two seasons at Ohio Valley University, he opted to transfer to Wheeling University.
Wheeling competes in NCAA Division II as part of the MEC.
"The main reason I decided to make the change was because Coach Lewicki was on the move from OVU to Wheeling and he and I already had a good relationship from our time together at Ohio Valley," he said. "I asked if it was alright if I came with him and he was all for it."
That decision proved to be a good one for Charlton, as the junior catcher currently sports a solid .268 batting average with four home runs and 12 RBIs for the Cardinals, who have an 11-16 record so far this year.
"I'm very happy with my decision to come over to Wheeling," Charlton said. "I was hesitant at first, knowing that I had already established myself at OVU. Now, I have to prove myself all over again at Wheeling, but I was ready for the challenge and it's worked out well"
Charlton attributed his solid offensive numbers to being comfortable in his new surroundings.
"I'm just surrounded by good people and good teammates who have made Wheeling feel like home," Charlton explained. "We have a good group of guys on the team, so I've just been stepping up to the plate with no pressure and able to just relax."
Charlton has also enjoyed his new home off the field as well, with the academics and overall college vibe being a better fit for him.
"The switch to Wheeling has been great in more than just the baseball side," Charlton explained. "And the school and the campus give me the college experience that I felt like I was missing out on at Ohio Valley.
"I'm a business major with a focus in marketing," Charlton continued. "I'm doing well academically and on course to graduate this spring."
Both the former Cambridge standout student-athletes agree their time spent in the Bobcat baseball program was instrumental to their being able to be successful at the collegiate level.
"I believe that my time at Cambridge prepared me very well for the collegiate level," Charlton said. "I had many coaches who helped develop my game in some way during my years at Cambridge and I'm very grateful for their help. I also want to thank Jimmy and Ron Antill from Post 84 for helping me prepare as well."
Valentine expressed a big shout-out to Josh and Jamaal Lowery for being positive role models during his career at Cambridge.
"Jamaal and Josh Lowery were great coaches and influencers on me. They made it clear that if you want to be great, you have to work for every bit of it," Valentine said. "They helped create the player I have become today. A gentleman off the field and a gritty hard worker on the field and when nobody is watching."
Another Bobcat, Perkins, is getting his first taste of the college level as a true freshman for Akron University, following his graduation in 2021 from CHS.
Perkins has worked a total of 10.2 innings for the Zips, who are coached by former Cincinnati Reds player Chris Sabo. Perkins has a 0-1 W-L record with 11 Ks, three walks and one save to his credit.
Jamaal Lowery has fond memories of Perkins who was a key piece in the Bobcats' Division II district championship last season as a senior.
"Sean has an electric arm with his 3/4 arm slot is a nightmare for most hitters. He was a kid that you knew could definitely play at the next level early on," Lowery stated. "It’s great to see him getting innings at Akron this year as a freshman. That says a lot right there for him."
Both Valentine and Charlton are both still Bobcats and despite busy and demanding schedules, they keep tabs on their home town team.
"I of course still keep up with Cambridge and how they are doing in all sports, especially baseball of course," Charlton said. "With my parents still being in town and my dad John being involved with the school and still covering some games for the Daily Jeffersonian it makes it easier to keep up with them.
"Also with the Bobcats joining the Buckeye 8, it will make it easier to get over and catch a few games down here in the valley," Charlton continued. "I try to make it to see as many games as I can to show my support for the school."
Valentine has a couple more reasons for keeping track of the Bobcats' baseball team, namely in junior brother Jake, who is a key contributor on the field, and his father John who serves as an assistant coach for the team.
"Yes of course I follow the team. I go to their practices over the winter as much as I can," Valentine explained. "Jamaal and I have a good relationship and he recently took time to come down to watch me pitch against ONU which I appreciated.
"It is hard not to keep tabs on the team this year, they are going to do great things with all the talent they have on the roster," Valentine said. "I'm wanting to make it to some games depending on our schedule and my school work schedule. But I will make it happen as much as possible."
Lowery is hopeful the success Valentine, Charlton and Perkins are having will inspire future Bobcats to work hard to follow their lead to reach that next level of baseball.
"The work ethic and the time spent working on their craft is paying off and its showing at the next level. I’m very proud of all of them," Lowery continued. "Each of them is a positive reflection of our program, and that hard work can pay off for you if you're willing to put in the time. Hopefully their example will push future players to follow their lead."