Confidence, depth and precision is hard to find in any organization, but this year these traits seem to flow freely in the Pahrump Valley Trojans baseball team.
This will be Trojans Coach Brian Hayes’ second year as skipper of the Trojans ball club. Success has come quickly to the program. The Trojans in their first year rose from the cellar doormat to a 5-5 league record last year, a third place finish and a berth in the playoffs.
“We have really high expectations this year. I think we can push Faith Lutheran. They are the defending state champion, but I think we have potential. They are still the top dog, but we have the opportunity to compete with them. It’s kind of nice to have the state champion in your league because we play them twice and so we will see where we stand,” the coach explained.
This year for the Trojans to advance farther in zone the team knew it had to improve its pitching even more. Hayes believes his pitching staff has improved a lot.The staff this year is eight deep and rich in experience.
“We go into the River Valley tournament completely different than last year. Last year we didn’t know who we were going to pitch. We were worried about who can pitch and who can come back and pitch. This time it is opposite, it’s who is most going to pitch. We have played four scrimmages and all our pitchers did well. Our pitchers have improved a lot. I think we are at the point where we actually have pitchers, where last year we just threw somebody up there,” he said.
Last year’s go-to pitcher was Chad Uyeno, but he hurt his arm around the start of league play. Despite being injured he managed to still lead the team in strikeouts with 28. Uyeno has good control and a good fastball. He finished the year with 24 innings pitched and a 2.3 ERA. He is back along with many of the pitchers that got the Trojans to the playoffs last year.
Devin Rily finished strong too last year. He is a pitcher that can hit his spots. He doesn’t overpower the hitters but relies on his control. Last season he threw the only no-hitter for the Trojans and finished the season with a 3.76 ERA.
Drew Middleton was one of the pitchers who worked on his control a lot during American Legion ball during the summer. His 7.45 ERA last year was nothing to brag about, but Hayes expects to see a lot of improvement from him this year.
Another pitcher Trojans fans will see a lot of is Josh Mortensen. He pitched a lot when Uyeno went down and he also improved his control over the summer.
This spring the Trojans will return to the diamond again with a fairly young team. Last year the team lost only three to graduation. Most of the team this year will be juniors. This means defensively the Trojans have solid players at each position. Hayes said he is two deep at each position and this allows his players to have some healthy competition for each position, which he believes promotes better play.
He uses the catcher’s position as an example.
“There is actual competition at catcher. Last year’s catcher, Carlos is competing with last year’s junior varsity catcher, Quintin Ward. We have guys pushing guys in every position to make us even better,” Hayes said. “We are young but we are experienced. We have a lot of seniors, but we have plenty of juniors with experience. Defensivly we will be one of the top defensive teams in the league.”
Offensively the Trojans will return with three all-conference hitters Dylan Ault, AJ Segura and Josh Mortensen. In addition to those bats, Hayes expects Richard Greene and Chad Uyeno to have a better year than last year. Both players were injured last year.
The Trojans are at River Valley High School in Mohave, Ariz. for a weekend tourney.