ECU News, Notes and Commentary
Thursday, August 11, 2005
By Bethany Bradsher
Route to MLB begins off the
bus rides to destinations that are sometimes difficult to find on a map.
Wacky promotions at the gate and on the field, often between every inning.
Mascots (Lansing Lugnuts, Clinton Lumberkings) that only a true fan could
major league is The Show, then playing in the Class A affiliates of the
minor leagues is the warm-up act to the warm-up act. And it’s the life that
Trevor Lawhorn has been leading, 700 miles away from home, since early
former standout for the Pirates, was drafted in the ninth round by the
Cincinnati Reds in 2004 after his team-leading 21 home runs helped East
Carolina make it to the NCAA Regionals. His first outpost was Billings,
Montana, with the Reds’ rookie level team, the Billings Mustangs.
moved up to the Dayton Dragons this season, Lawhorn was pleased not only
because it represented a step up the baseball ladder, but because while he
was in Billings, the middle of nowhere seemed to be right around the corner.
shortest bus trip from Billings was five hours away,” said Lawhorn, who
starred for Barton College before joining his brother Darryl at ECU in 2003.
North Carolinian on the Dragons roster, Lawhorn has been teased about his
Southern accent and spends days off either catching up on sleep or playing
golf, he said, because there isn’t much else to do in Dayton. Hotels in
places like Napierville, Ill., and Battle Creek, Mich., have started to seem
like friends. His days become monotonous, he said. Sleep. Eat. Play
really don’t know what day it is,” he said. “You just go out and do the same
thing every day.”
follows is a snapshot of a week in the life of a Pirate-turned-Dragon
slugging it out in the Midwest:
• Thursday, August 4: The Dragons, struggling at the bottom of the Eastern
Division of the Midwest League with a 17-29 record, pull out a 10-5 win over
the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wizards. Lawhorn, taking a turn as the team’s
designated hitter, is 1-for-4 with one run.
• Friday, August 5: “I woke up around 1 o'clock because there is pretty much
nothing else to do besides sleep, before going to the ballpark,” Lawhorn
wrote in an e-mail.
lunch near the University of Dayton with some teammates, Lawhorn arrives at
the ballpark at 2 p.m., five hours before game time. The Dragons players
“slowly get ready” for stretching at 3:30 p.m., then take batting practice,
go inside the clubhouse for dinner and then return to the field for infield
practice before the game.
Dragons lose to the Wizards 7-1 before a home crowd of more than 8,000.
Manager Alonzo Powell opts not to put Lawhorn in the lineup.
• Saturday, August 6: Lawhorn and his team board the bus for a
five-and-a-half hour trip to Napierville, Illinois, where they will play a
four-game series against the Kane County Cougars.
“We have a
really nice bus,” said Lawhorn, whose longest road trip with the Dragons has
been about nine hours. “They take really good care of us.”
series opener, Kane County dominates Dayton 15-4, with Lawhorn playing
second base and again going 1-for-4 at the plate.
• Sunday, August 7: Another lopsided loss for the Dragons, with the Cougars
prevailing 10-4. Lawhorn, playing as the designated hitter, goes 1-for-4 for
the third time and steals a base.
• Monday, August 8: On his third day in a Napierville hotel, Lawhorn sleeps
until 12:30 p.m., then goes to get lunch with his hotel roommate and arrives
at the ballpark for a similar routine to the one for home games.
A 7-6 loss
to Kane County follows, with Lawhorn cheering his teammates on from the
• Tuesday, August 9: The last game of the series resulted in an unfortunate
sweep for the Cougars, but this 11-10 loss produced Lawhorn’s best offensive
game of the week. He notched a clutch homer and a timely triple. The RBI
triple in the sixth tied the game 8-8 and the two-run home run in the eighth
gave his team a short-lived 10-8 lead.
run, Lawhorn’s third of the season, improves his batting average to .242.
• Wednesday, August 10: Lawhorn’s father and his brother Darryl, who spent
three seasons with the Pirates and has been in New Bern rehabilitating a
knee injury, arrive in Dayton for a visit just in time for Lawhorn’s only
free day of the week.
Dragons put together an extraordinary winning streak in the next few weeks
and make the playoffs, Lawhorn’s season will end on Sept. 5. With three
semesters left before he completes his bachelor’s degree in communications,
he will leave Dayton for Greenville to make an immediate transition from
second baseman to full-time ECU student.
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02/23/2007 01:11:35 AM