Few are looking forward to opening day more than Clemson’s Elijah Henderson.
After his third season with the Tigers was cut short thanks to the pandemic, the outfielder is anxious to get the new year started as Clemson hosts Cincinnati this afternoon (4 p.m.) in the season opener at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson.
Today is the first of three against the Bearcats this weekend.
It has been a long time coming for Henderson and the Tigers, who saw their 2020 season end just 17 games in with them sporting a 14-3 record and playing good baseball.
“I tried to continue on that throughout quarantine and you know, it’s hard on everybody,” Henderson said. “It didn’t just impact baseball players, it impacted the world, so, yeah, it kind of stunk. But here we are today a year later getting to compete, so I’m ready to continue that.”
Henderson finished last year hitting a career-high .323 with 10 runs and 12 RBIs. While many would be disappointed with having such a successful season cut short, the South Carolina-native instead used the long off-season as fuel.
“I worked on my back hand at second base, just trying to get better, hand-eye coordination, stuff like that, just simple things to just try and get better day-by-day.”
While Henderson has played outfield for most of his Clemson career, the outfielder is expecting to add some second base action to his resume this spring—something the veteran is ready to embrace head on in order to become a go-to guy for Clemson this season.
“I’ve told head coach [Monte Lee] that, you know, I’ll be anywhere you want me to be, whatever’s best for the team, that’s what I’m going to do,” the Greer-native said. “I do embrace that role, just being able to play left on a Friday, second on a Saturday, and then back in right on a Sunday, that doesn’t affect me at all. I’m just gonna go out there and compete as hard as I can.”