MORRIS – Ever since he was a little, Trevor Lines has wanted to play baseball. That’s understandable, seeing as how a lot of little boys harbor dreams of being a ball player.
What Lines learned early on, though, was that in order for that dream to come true, a lot of work was going to have to go into it. So that’s what he did. He worked at it. And he worked at it. And worked at it some more, until it became second nature.
During his senior year at Morris, fans would say how smooth and natural Lines looked at shortstop and at the plate. What they didn’t understand was the effort that went into making things look effortless.
“I have always worked hard at it,” Line said about baseball. “It was always my No. 1 sport growing up. I was lucky that there were a lot of kids in this senior class that did all the extra hard work and were dedicated to baseball. Morris is generally known as a football school, but this class had a lot of kids that love baseball and we pushed each other to get better. That paid off for the whole team.”
And, for his efforts, Lines is named the 2014 Morris Daily Herald Baseball Player of the Year. His numbers may not jump off the page and wow most people, but it’s for his full body of work that he is being honored. The numbers are strong; a .345 batting average, .447 on-base percentage, four doubles, one triple, one home run, 15 RBIs and 10 stolen bases for a team that went 28-10 and won the school a regional title for the first time since 2003. Although his offensive numbers were indeed better than average, it was his defensive work and leadership on the field that set him above the rest. That, plus a brain that allowed him to achieve a perfect score of 36 on his ACT and earn a full academic scholarship to Creighton University with a guaranteed a spot on the baseball team.
“Trevor was the heart and soul of our team, especially our defense,” Morris coach Todd Kein said. “He had high expectations coming into this season with the skill set he has, and he lived up to that and then some. He saved so many runs and ended so many innings for us with incredible plays. It would be nice to have the whole season on film, but I have to settle for the memories I will have of him in my head.
“He just plays the game well. He’s not flawless, but his intelligence helped him overcome any mistake he made quicker than others.”
The ability to absorb information that helped him in school was also a benefit on the field, as he displayed a grasp of the game and situations that seemed to put him a step ahead of the competition. He knew what was expected of him in most any given situation, and he know how to achieve it. Case in point, a hit-and-run during Morris’ sectional loss to Peoria Notre Dame. With the runner moving toward second, Lines purposefully kept his hands back as the pitch arrived and punched it through the vacated right side, giving up a chance to try and drive the ball deep in order to move the runner along. Lines then stole second as part of a double steal that scored a run. In the seventh inning, Peoria Notre Dame had brought on hard-throwing lefty Jake Hurst, a Bradley University recruit, to close out the game. With two outs, Lines worked Hurst to a full count and fouled off three pitches before singling to center to extend the season for another batter.
“That last at-bat was the epitome of who Trevor is as a player,” Kein said. “You will never hear him talk about his batting average. The saying we have here is, ‘It’s not how it gets done, it’s if it gets done.’ And Trevor takes that approach to his game. He gives it all he has, every play.”
Although he is off to Creighton soon (classes start Aug. 23), where he will be part of a program that led the nation in fielding percentage last season, there is part of his Morris experience that Lines will always carry with him, including a certain day in late May that saw both him and his sister, Leah, who plays shortstop for the Redskins’ softball team, win regional titles with their respective teams. In typical Trevor Lines fashion, the focus in his response was not on himself.
“My career at Morris was the best I could ask for,” Lines said. “All the coaches were great, both at developing our skills on the field and at developing us as people. One of the goals for this group of seniors was to win a regional title, and for us to do it in our own field was extra special.
“It was also very cool to be able to watch my sister win one a few minutes after we did. They are usually done with their games before we are, so they usually come watch us. It was nice to be able to see them win it. It was almost like a movie. You just don’t hear of that happening very often.”