Coming off their first winning season in three years last season, the Diamond Dawgs had high expectations heading into this year; however, things didn’t start off as planned for the Diamond Dawgs. They started off 9-25 overall and 2-7 in Pac 12 play, but went 15-7 down the stretch to finish 24-32 (15-15 in conference), tying themselves for sixth place in the Pac 12. Down this final stretch, the Huskies were able to take two of three games from Pac 12 champs Oregon State, sweep in-state rival Gonzaga, as well as win series against Arizona State and Arizona.
I was able to sit down with UW first baseman Trevor Mitsui to get his take on the 2013 season as well as his outlook on the future of the program.
Erik Erickson: Going into the 2013 season, what were the expectations and goals for the team?
Trevor Mitsui: Obviously, our first are foremost goal was to make regionals; we didn’t do that. We also wanted to finish in the upper half of the conference and we did, so we met that goal. And just see overall improvement from the season before that’s what anyone would want, but our main goal was to make regionals
EE: Individually what goals did you set for yourself?
TM: This year I wanted to hit for more power, which I didn’t end up doing. I wanted to improve defensively, which I did end up doing. I felt much more comfortable over at first base then I did last year fielding the ball. I just wanted to improve in everything possible.
EE: The team started off the season a little slow, but you ended up finishing the year strong with a 15-7 final stretch. What adjustments did you make as a team to reach your success?
TM: I think we just all came together. It was more of a pride thing. We just started playing better baseball. We started off the season pretty rough, but we showed a lot of character coming together. I think our team’s character impacted the overall look of our season in a positive way.
EE: As far as the future goes, you only lose four seniors from this year’s team. Has the team talked about expectations or goals for next year?
TM: We haven’t talked about expectations but personally, I think our goal is to finish similar or better than we did in conference this year. Also we want to make a regional next year, and host one with the new ballpark being built. If we do well next year that could be a possibility.
EE: With Lindsey Meggs as the head coach, the baseball program has really made strides forward. What is it about Coach Meggs that has made your team more successful?
TM: I really like his intensity. He provides a spark to the team that gets us fired up. He works one-on-one with a lot of guys on the team and I think that’s encouraging for a lot of guys to see the head coach do that, and its shown in our play.
EE: This summer you’re in the Cape Cod League with the Brewster Whitecaps, what has that experience been like for you?
TM: It’s been really good. I was here last year, too, and I remember coming out here really anxious. I had never been this far away from home for a long period of time before. I’m a lot more comfortable this year. I know the coaching staff, the GM, and there are players that are returning from last year that I know. I think it’s been an absolute wonderful experience to be hosted by the family I’m with. It’s a great baseball environment.
EE: What are you looking to work on in your game to take the next step as a player?
TM: I’ve always hit to the middle and opposite field, and this summer I’m working on what Coach Meggs calls getting the bat head out, and pulling the ball over the fence. I want to hit more extra base hits and drive in more runs when I have the opportunity. I also am working on pitch selection and coming up with a plan to attack pitchers.
EE: You were drafted out of high school by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 in the 12th round. Do you think you made the right decision in going to the UW?
TM: Yes. Looking back on it, going with the Rays would have been fun, but I’ve really enjoyed myself in college. Before ever being drafted, education was very important to me, so passing up an education at the University of Washington and perhaps the College World Series was a hard thing to do. I’ve met a lot of cool people and I wouldn’t change a thing.
EE: What does it mean to you to be a Husky?
TM: I grew up just north of Seattle and I’ve always been a UW fan. It’s always been a dream to get to play for the UW, and obviously they have an outstanding academic program here, and I just love everything about Seattle. It’s an awesome opportunity for me to be here.
EE: Any final thoughts or comments for Husky fans?
TM: Husky baseball fans get ready for next year, I got a feeling we are going to do something special next year and I really mean that. We’re going to have a lot of guys coming back off of injuries that are really going to help us, and we are going to really have a solid group of guys.
The future looks bright for the Diamond Dawgs. Only four seniors graduated from the 2013 season and with key players returning from injury, the Huskies will bring back the experience needed to make NCAA regionals. The Pac-12 has some of the nation’s finest teams each year and the Huskies will be looking to finish at the top of the standings in 2014.