Heaven can wait: Trask is focused on Devils’ stretch run

By From page B1 | May 04, 2014

The scouts huddled behind home plate nodded in agreement.

It was the third inning of Davis High’s 6-2 victory over arch-rival Elk Grove last month.

Three speed guns each said 92 mph.

Blue Devil pitcher Matt Trask was settling in.

Trask — a 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior — for two years has been looking forward to a college baseball career at UCLA.

But with professional teams like the Red Sox, Brewers, Angels and Rockies sniffing around, could anything change for this kid when the June MLB draft arrives?

“I don’t even know if I’m going to get drafted,” Trask told The Enterprise. “If that comes up as an option, I’ll be happy to see what they have to say before I jump on that boat.”

Trask, 18, has the size. He’s grounded by a terrific family. He has a legitimate throw-it-past-them fastball, a make-them-look-silly change-up and an emerging curve ball.

If he makes The Show, the blond, personable Trask could be a franchise’s marketing windfall.

But even for the best high school players, pro ball is a long shot.

“I want Matt to be the one to make the final decision and (for him to) know that I support him no matter what his choice,” says dad Mike Trask, a popular and longtime Davis youth coach. “I want him to know that his situation is win-win. Being drafted is every Little Leaguer’s dream and I would never downplay that.

“However, the chance to go to UCLA, get an education and play for coach (John) Savage on one of the top teams (defending national champs) in the country is an amazing opportunity.”

The elder Trask says there’s “no magic number” in mind, should the professionals come knocking, adding all that decision-making can wait until after this prep campaign.

“Most teams know that he is planning on going to UCLA and it would have to be a significant offer to change that plan.”

In three varsity seasons, Trask has gone 14-6 with a 1.61 earned run average.

This year — as his Blue Devils are tied atop the Delta Valley Conference with Elk Grove — Trask is 4-1 (1.51 ERA).

He’s been a thorn in the side of that Thundering Herd — contributing two game-winning hits against Elk Grove last season and beating them on April 4 this spring with 5 1/3 innings of five-hit, seven-strikeout ball. For his 2013 efforts, Trask was named DVC Player of the Year.

That’s right, he can hit, too. Lifetime prep average? Just a hiccup shy of .400. His 10 doubles and 21 RBIs lead the current Blue Devils.

Sporting a 3.75 GPA, Trask says he’s focused on just two things right now: the DHS run at another DVC crown — and maybe its third Sac-Joaquin Section title.

“Once we get in, hopefully we’ll get a first seed,”  says the big right-hander. “Once (into) playoffs, if we play well, we should be able to win our games.”

A two-game set with Elk Grove this week will go a long way toward sorting things out. Trask is expected to be on the hill Tuesday (4:15 p.m.) when the Herd comes to town for DHS Senior Day. The regular season ends Wednesday at Elk Grove.

Davis coach Dan Ariola says Trask has been the backbone of a team that is in first place at 11-2 in DVC play  and 15-9-1 overall.

Trask and Ariola agree that with the recent call-up from junior varsity of sophomore pitcher Pierce Tujo (1-0), the Devils now have a strong rotation (with No. 2 starter Brett Bloomfield pitching the best ball of his career).

“If Tujo keeps working hard, he’ll be the ace next year,” Trask adds. “We needed a third guy who could step up.”

Looking back at his son’s diamond journey, Mike Trask says he realized in 2011 that Matt might be serious post-high school material:

“Matt had a great freshman year, but that summer he grew a couple of inches and his velocity jumped. That fall he played on a scout team for Milwaukee scout Justin McCray and pitched against some junior college teams (including Tony Bloomfield’s Cosumnes River College). He competed well.

“That’s when it really hit me that he may be able to play at that next level.”

So what if baseball doesn’t work out in the long run? What’s up after school?

“I’d like to be a firefighter,” Matty says, adding: “But I hope that doesn’t happen.”

Notes: Trask divides his time between his dad in Davis and mom Michele Marine, who lives in West Sacramento. Mom is at most of Matt’s games and is part of the support system that has kept her son anchored. … Mike Trask and Mark Martin coached a 9-10 Davis Little League tournament team that won the Northern California title. On that team were seven members of the current Blue Devil team — Josh Guerrero, Nate Curtis, Drew Gnos, Ryan Kreidler, Bloomfield, John Ariola and Trey Golston. Matt Trask was a year older and not a teammate. … Does dad Trask have any advice for parents of future athletes? “Be there for the kids and make sure the kids have fun. Matt played Little League all the way through Juniors and did very little travel ball. He played three sports all the way until high school. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and play (one sport) year-round to get to the next level.”

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.

Bruce Gallaudet

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