Former Turlock High Bulldog Darren Trainor will soon be playing baseball for Lewis-Clark State College after signing his letter of intent on June 4 out of Merced College.
“I had talked with Lewis-Clark State all the way back to last summer while I was playing summer baseball in Humboldt,” said Trainor. “I had developed a good relationship with their coaching staff, and felt really good about the fit. I also liked the small school atmosphere; I felt at home in a sense.”
Trainor will be joining the best baseball program in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), having won their 18th NAIA World Series Championship this past season. The second best is Grand Canyon with four NAIA titles.
“When I visited the campus and saw them play, the atmosphere was unbelievable,” said Trainor. “Going to a program that has won back-to-back national championships these past two years at the NAIA level, I am really grateful for the opportunity.”
Just this past season, the Lewis-Clark State Warriors accumulated an impressive overall record of 48-7, including a convincing 26-2 home record and 30-5 in conference play.
But the journey for Trainor hasn't always been the smoothest by any means.
Trainor suffered a season-ending injury in the middle of his final season at Merced College, while also having his best season yet. He said the setback might have been a blessing after he admits to be working harder than ever to get back on track.
“It's a different perspective, but having the game taken from me definitely motivates me to get stronger and build more arm strength. Hopefully, this injury is a blessing in disguise,” said Trainor.
Trainor is currently going through rehab after undergoing Tommy John surgery back on April 14.
“It is a slow process but I am starting to get really moving. I start throwing ball in the next couple weeks and continue to build strength in the elbow,” he said about the recovery process.
Before his injury, nobody had seen such a solid improvement from the Merced College squad after batting .229 last year in 38 games.
Trainor was determined as he had seen improvements over his career as the years go on.
As a junior at Turlock, during the 2011-12 season, Trainor batted .143 over 23 games but went on to bump his average up to .288 as a senior over 28 games behind a team that clinched a CCC title and went 28-3 overall during the 2012-13 season.
This past season, before sustaining his injury, Trainor was batting .300 with four home runs, 18 RBI in 19 games played.
He went from having no college offers coming out of high school to a number to choose from, however, the injury hindered all possibilities.
“When I tore my UCL and had to get surgery, a lot of the other schools I was considering moved on. Lewis-Clark State kept the same offer despite the injury, which meant a lot to me,” said Trainor, who was recruited as a catcher by Lewis-Clark after playing infield at Turlock.
He was chosen as a second team All-CVC selection while at Merced and was the CVC Gold Glove catcher during the 2015 season.
Trainor was also able to excel in the classroom during his time at Merced College, accumulating a grade-point average of 3.5 while earning an Associate's Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Trainor will major in Kinesiology at Lewis-Clark State.