FRUITLAND, N.M. – When it comes to college baseball, if there’s a guy you want on the mound on a Friday night it is Trenton Blackwater.
Blackwater is a college baseball pitcher out of Alpine, Texas. The right-handed pitcher from Fallon just finished a season with Sul Ross State University and is looking to fulfill his dream to pitch in the majors.
Blackwater, 22, became the leading pitcher for Sul Ross this past season, something he said was one of his greatest accomplishments.
“It feels pretty good knowing I was able to help and contribute to the team and make it as far as we did this past year,” he said. “We accomplished a lot this year.”
Blackwater earned honorable mention honors in the American Southwest Conference after helping lead the team to the ASC tournament for the first time in 15 years.
The 5-foot-7 senior has family ties in the Four Corners area, but was born and raised in Nevada. He said as he grew up he watched his older brother play baseball and decided he wanted to give it a try.
“It was just something I liked to do and it was fun,” he said.
He said he played T-ball when he was about three or four years old, but when he was about 12 years old he became competitive. He said he played in the outfield and served as a pitcher going into Churchill County High School.
Pitching eventually became his niche.
“I just liked being the main player on the field controlling the game,” Blackwater said.
At the end of his junior year of high school he decided he wanted to continue going to school and play baseball, so he decided to look at a number of colleges.
At the end of his senior year in 2009 he had college scouts show up to watch him play. Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest, Calif., was the only school that offered him an opportunity to play college ball so he took it.
He said he didn’t think much of the transition from high school to college baseball, and instead focused solely on his game.
“I had a lot of good pitches,” he said. “I just went out there and did my own thing.”
After spending two years at Coso from 2009 to 2011, Blackwater decided it was time for a change. After talking with a friend who played for St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Okla., he decided to try out.
In Oklahoma he pitched from 2011 to 2013.
He said the competition was a lot stiffer and he felt challenged. He said he also realized that it was a wonder he was able to get as far as he had playing college baseball.
Standing only 5-7, he didn’t have the ideal makeup for a pitcher so Blackwater often fought the stereotype that he wouldn’t be able to pitch well because of his size.
“I was just trying to see how far I could go playing,” he said. “I was surprised to be able to keep going.”
He accepted another offer and traveled to Alpine, Texas, where he tried out for Sul Ross State University last fall.
Sul Ross head coach Bobby Mesker said the team was in dire need of pitchers so he was relieved when Blackwater decided to try out.
“It’s kind of ironic, kind of crazy we just needed another arm,” Mesker said. “He’s not overpowering, not a big size young man. His demeanor doesn’t look competitive, but it’s there.”
Mesker said Blackwater developed a nice slider and grew more confident in his one semester with the team.
He said over time Blackwater became a starting pitcher after much hard work.
“When you look at him he’s nothing special, but being a Friday night pitcher is a very important spot to be in, and he was our Friday night guy virtually all year,” Mesker said. “He’s kind of undersized but before you know it he’s put his team in a position to win the game.”
Blackwater is the younger of two sons to Julie and Fred Blackwater.
He still has one more semester before finishing up his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology but hopes to eventually play in the minors and later the majors.
“I just love the game, that’s why I try to keep pitching,” he said. “A lot of people say I’m so small but I want to see how far I can go.”
Permission to reprint in the LVN granted by the Navajo Times.