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Eli Cline: Returns to hometown to coach Trojan baseball

A new coach was introduced at the junior varsity level after last year’s coach, Ethan Wald, didn’t return for a second year.

Eli Cline is the new coach of the team and he is from the Pahrump Valley High School graduating class of 2010, where he played two years of varsity for the Trojans at second base.

The young coach was born in Montana and moved out to Pahrump at the age of 9 where he started playing Little League and loved the game so much he continued on into high school. While at PVHS, Cline played football also.

After graduation Cline spent a year in the army. While at Fort Benning in Georgia, he developed what he described as a strange ear infection, which partially impaired his hearing and led to a medical discharge.

“It was a rare genetic problem in which I needed to have corrective surgery for and now I hear fine. It prevented me from hearing certain frequencies,” he said.

Cline feels he just backed into the coaching position.

“I really was not looking to coach baseball, but Coach Hayes got my number and gave me a call. I had coached middle school football as the offensive coordinator and that is how he heard of me,” he said. “Coaching is fun. I came on because Hayes is organized. As a coach, you are more involved than people think. There is a lot of stuff to take in and there is the time spent on the bus. I am still learning what is going on. Hayes has a certain mindset on how practice goes. There is a structure for practice.”

Trojans Coach Brian Hayes believes he found a good coach.

“We know that when our JV kids are playing they will be running the same philosophies as our varsity team. Although Coach Eli doesn’t have a lot of experience coaching, he will provide a positive role model for our players and has shown the ability to show discipline as well. Those are the two most important traits we look for in a coach. His game management skills will improve as he gains more experience,” Hayes said.

The JV coach said he liked baseball simply because it is fun game to play.

“I like all of it. The best part is that you really don’t have to be the biggest player or strongest to play; you just need to know the game. On any given day a team can go out and play good baseball and win. It’s not like football, where you have to be a huge yoked team to play. You play good defensive and offense and you can win and that’s what I like about it,” he said

Cline said the Pahrump baseball program has grown in a positive way since he had played at Floyd Field.

“When I was playing we were not that big and today it is more competitive. There were a lot of positions that if you played you were guaranteed a spot. We did not have any extra players. We maybe had 12 players. We didn’t have to worry about people taking our spots. Today the program is definitely building,” Cline explained.

Trojans Coach Rich Lauver was the most influential coach Cline had because Lauver said you had to be the best and to be the best you had to strive to be the best in practice.

“I took that to heart. I realized this also works in other things in life,” he said.

The junior varsity team has 16 players this year. Cline said the team is deep in pitchers with eight this year. He also believes the team to be solid defensively. He said the team is made up of freshmen and sophomores. When asked about the offensive power of his team, he replied, “The team needs to work on its hitting approach and knowing what to look for during hitting is hard to learn. We are not just teaching the kids to swing if it is a strike,” he commented.

This weekend the junior varsity will be going to Pahranagat Valley High School to play in a tournament. Pahranagat Valley won the state title game last year in Division IV.

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