By Vern Hee
The Trojans baseball team was derailed when it traveled down to the Mohave Valley in Arizona last Thursday.
The ballers got hit by an Arizona express train with five teams on it. The tournament lasted three days and concluded Saturday.
The team started its pre-season by playing in the tourney. Pre-season will end in April.
This was Brian Hayes’ first tournament as head varsity baseball coach. His team went 1-4 during the long weekend.
Hayes’ last position as a baseball coach was at Beatty High School where he took his Beatty club to state.
“My coaching style is aggressive. I am a hitter’s coach. I am going to let our hitters hit. The big thing I am asking the kids right now is the effort. We have had some problems with effort from the kids. We are dealing with that and trying to get them to go out and play hard. I can’t expect them to be doing exactly what I ask of them because this is my first year. It is a process. As we get more involved with what I expect of them, the expectations will be there too.”
The team spent the weekend testing the waters and seeing what kind of team they had. At the River Valley Tournament, the first game they played was against a strong River Valley High School team. The Trojans lost 8-0 and were no-hit by the River Valley pitcher. Brian England, sophomore, pitched for the Trojans.
The team made five errors, and did not get a hit. There were 12 strikeouts in 15 at bats.
During the second game, the Trojans lost 18-2 to Mohave, Ariz. Hayes said the game was sloppy, and wet. Mohave scored 12 runs in the second inning.
“The kids gave up, and there wasn’t too much intensity,” said Hayes.
In the third game, the team played Mingus, Ariz. Hayes said this game was tough to lose. The game came down to the last out and inning where the Trojans lost 3-6.
“We played competitive. In the last inning with two outs the last batter hit a pop foul. The runner did not hustle to the bag. The wind ended up blowing the ball in play where the infielder dropped the ball but was still able to make the last out because the runner did not run all the way to first. We lost because of no hustle. If he was running hard we would have had runners on second and third with two outs with the number four hitter up. It sucks to lose, but it was a great way to lose pre-season because we had been pounding into the kids’ head about hustle. We had sent some kids home last week from practice because of the lack of hustle,” said Hayes.
The Trojans won the fourth game against Camp Verde, Ariz., 8-2 and lost the last game to Lake Havasu, Ariz., 9-2.
The highlights of the tournament were the two games the Trojans played close, the 6-3 loss to Mingus and the victory over Camp Verde.
Also, offensively the team did well. Hayes said the team did not practice too much hitting before entering the tournament and was pleased the way some of his batters performed.
“Dylan Ault was the bright spot of the weekend. He can murder fast balls. He hit .600 with six hits and three runs scored stole one base. Richard Greene did not hit the ball hard, but made contact. Chad also had two hits on the weekend,” Hayes said.
This year’s Trojans roster consists of an 18-man roster. The team consists of four seniors, eight juniors and six sophomores.
Last year, the team was in a rebuilding year and very green. They finished last in the conference.
The team is still rebuilding, but it comes back with experience. Hayes said his team has been working mostly on pitching and defense.
“We have six kids that we used over the weekend as pitchers, Chad Uyeno, Brian England, AJ Segura, Drew Middleton, Johnny Arriola, and Josh Mortenson,” said Hayes.
“Chad was the only kid that threw strikes. Mortenson, and England were junior varsity pitchers last year, AJ did not pitch at all. Drew pitched a little bit, but did not have too much success. Johnny is brand new he has not played since he was a freshman. We have a lot of green guys on the mound and it showed.”
Chad had the lowest ERA of 2.0. England was second with a 7.0 ERA. The Grand Canyon now separates the experience of Uyeno and the other pitchers.
“Chad walked one or two, but the rest walked 26 hitters in 21 innings,” said Hayes. “We are trying to work on three pitches. We would like them to have at least three, a fast-ball, a curve-ball and a change-up. At this point in the game we are more concerned with them throwing strikes. The next couple of weeks the emphasis will be locating fast-balls, if you can’t locate fast-balls, no use learning the rest,” said Hayes.
The other concern for the team was defense. The coach said his team gave up 18 errors in five games.
“Our defense is going to be solid in the outfield. We need our pitchers to throw strikes so we can field balls. When you average six walks a game, you do not get much time to work on your defense,” he said.
During the tournament, the Trojans did without Aukai Alameda, a senior third-baseman. Alameda injured his knee prior to the tournament and only pinched-hit. When he did hit, though, Hayes said he hit a double. Hayes does not know when Alameda will return to the line-up.
“We told the kids that they have three weeks, we have the Mountain View tournament and then the Durango tournament. They have three tournaments to figure out what their roles are. If the pitching comes around, we can finish near the top.” he said.
The Trojans saw action at home yesterday against Desert Pines. The score was too late to report. It was the first home game of the season. The Trojans are in action again today and Thursday at the Mountain View Tournament in Las Vegas.
Averaging five walks per game in five games.Tr allowed 44 runs.
They gave up four runs a game due to 18 errors. Forty-one runners reached base because of base on balls, errors, or hit by pitch, 25 of those scored.
Fourteen bases were stolen because pitchers did not hold the runner on.