Hill Brings Versatility to Mustangs

By Matt Tritten | mtritten@kq2.com

Published 07/10 2014 11:08PM

Updated 07/10 2014 11:41PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Even before Trent Hill posted a team-high batting average of .409 at Maple Woods last spring, Matt Johnson knew he wanted him in St. Joseph.

"We've been trying to have him since last August," Johnson, the Mustangs manager, said.

The signing of Hill, a Bentonville, Arkansas native, fell through last fall, so he played ball in Texas for a stint this summer. Johnson kept after him, though, and a former Maple Woods teammate sold him on St. Joe.

"Andrew Standifer actually came here. He told me about it and I was like 'alright, it sounds good,'" Hill said.

"You know we kind of stayed on him all summer. And he said he's wanting to come up," Johnson said. "Called the coach, got him taken care of and got him up here."

In his sophomore season at Maple Woods, Hill led the Monarchs with nine home runs and 56 RBI.

The Mustangs are hoping that pop will lift a lineup that's at the bottom of the MINK with a .209 batting average.

"Trent's very good. He's got a lot of power from the left side. It's nice to have in the middle of the lineup, a righty-lefty (combo)," St. Joe outfielder Mike Sherburne said. "That's a big plus for us."

"With everyone in the lineup, you can't really pitch around anyone," Hill said of St. Joseph's hitters. "Everyone can do the job. Anyone can put it out, get that extra-base hit that we need."

But his biggest contribution so far has come from the mound.

Hill showed his versatility swinging the bat, and also holding down a spotless ERA through nearly six innings of relief. Johnson first called on the lefty in the tenth inning against Sedalia on the July 4. He shut the Bombers down with three strike outs in 4 2/3 innings of relief to earn the win.

Hill proved to himself as a dominant pitcher in his sophomore campaign with Maple Woods averaging nearly 14 strikeouts per nine innings last spring.

Now after just 11 days with his new team, Hill's already getting comfortable thanks to the confidence his manager has in him.
"Just knowing that Coach Johnson's going to let me do it all. He put a lot on my back. I just try to do what I can do for the team."

After a long wait to sign him, the Mustangs are hoping that Hill will use the final two weeks of the season to reward them for their patience.

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