Doanes’ Love Of Game Highlighted By Recent Success for WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia freshman third baseman Trey Doanes has a lot to smile about. The Fayetteville, Ga., native has been on a tear recently for the Mountaineers as he helps power their drive for a postseason berth.
Over his past 11 appearances, the 5-10, 175-pound sparkplug has ripped 15 hits in 36 at-bats, including four doubles and four triples. Driving in 13 runs, he has raised his batting average from .143 to .316 while giving the Mountaineers another effective run-producer from the sixth spot in the batting order.
Included in that stretch was a huge 3-run triple against Texas to lock up a series win last weekend, and another big hit in the most recent win against Maryland – a two-RBI double that extended the Mountaineer lead in the early going. The at-bat against the Longhorns was an epic duel, with Doanes fouling off several pitches to stay alive before getting a slider that he liked.
“I just try to keep fighting,” he said of the grinding approach that is atypical of many freshmen. “I was able to see all of his pitches and able to get my barrel on it.”
Patience of that sort is rare in newcomers, and it didn’t come immediately for Doanes. Although head coach Randy Mazey and the coaching staff knew they had a talent on their hands, there was an adjustment period early on. With just three hits in his first 21 at-bats, Doanes was not only adjusting to the higher level of collegiate pitching, but also learning to be measured at the plate. He also credits the team atmosphere for helping him on the current hot streak.
“We’ve had a couple of meetings and it’s just playing for the person next to you, and for your teammates,” he explained.
That may be part of it, but so too is his comfort level and intensity at the plate. Even while engaged in an intense battle like the one in the Texas series, its not uncommon to see a smile creep across his expressive features. He’s bearing down while concentrating on the match-up against the pitcher, but having fun while doing so.
“Baseball is a kid’s game, and when I get out there I am just trying to be a kid,” he explained, with the smile breaking out again. “I just try to have fun. All of us try to have a good time on the field.”
Doanes’ success hasn’t been confined to the batter’s box. In the Texas series, he made a pair of big plays at third, robbing UT of runs with both. With increased playing time, his defensive chances are increasing, but he still has only three errors on the year, and has started four double plays. On the basepaths, he’s aggressive, turning hits into the gap, especially into left center field, into doubles and triples. Uniformly, he’ll pop up from his slide with that same big smile while signalling to his teammates in the dugout.
The smiles and good times are definitely rolling for the Mountaineers, who are 13-5 over their last 18 games. They hit the road for a three-game league series against Kansas beginning Friday May 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET.