Three Riders get a taste of home in 2017

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Hart  By Ryan Rouillard
For most Riders players and coaches, visiting the other seven cities
in the Texas League is just part of the routine that the 140-game
season brings. However, for a few members of the 2017 roster, there
are certain stops that hold a special importance: it’s a chance to go
home.
Two members of the Riders Opening Day roster – catcher Jose
Trevino and hitting coach Jason Hart – will get to play and coach in
their hometowns a couple of times this season when the Riders make
trips to Corpus Christi and Springfield, Missouri respectively.
For Hart, the opportunity is nothing new. Originally from Fair
Grove, Missouri (approximately 15 miles from Springfield), the
sixth-year Riders hitting coach has made a pair of trips back to
Hammons Field each season he’s been with the club – including a recent
visit for the Riders series in Springfield April 13-15. Even though
he’s made numerous trips back with the Riders, the trip to Springfield
never gets old for Hart.
“It’s special to come home and sit on my own couch and watch my
own TV and then go drive over to mom and dad’s and get some lunch with
my mom,” he said. “So any time we can come here, I just really cherish
it.”
Hart still lives in Springfield in the offseason, so he always
has a long list of family and friends to check in with during the
three days the Riders are in town.
“I leave here exhausted every time because I’ve got such a long
to-do list when I get home,” Hart Said. “It’s really special to see
the family and just catch up with some old friends.”

Trevino       While Hart has gotten used to the ventures home, it’ll be a new
experience for Trevino, who could play as many as 16 games in front of
family and friends at Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field this season.
“It’s been very exciting,” Trevino said about the anticipation
of playing at home. “I know there’s going to be a lot of people there.
I feel like it’s a big thing just to see my family and friends and
everybody out there. It’s going to be awesome. And I feel like it
could almost turn into a home game for us.”
It will be Trevino’s first time playing at home as a
professional but not his first time back since he left after high
school. The first-year Riders catcher had a chance to play in front
of the hometown crowd with Oral Roberts University in 2013 against
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
“It just felt like I was at home and comfortable and relaxed,” he
said. “It’s kind of like when you were growing up and people would
just come out and support you. But now, it’s a bigger stage.”

Lipka      And while Hart and Trevino get the occasional opportunity to be
at home, outfielder Matt Lipka gets an even more special opportunity:
he gets to play half the season in his hometown.
A native of Frisco and a graduate of McKinney High School, Lipka
is in his first season with the Riders after spending the first seven
seasons of his career in the Braves organization. The closest he ever
got to Frisco prior to this season was in his time with the Double-A
Mississippi Braves, based out of in Pearl, Mississippi. Still though,
it wasn’t the same as being home.

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