When Paul Trenhaile says Major League Baseball is his dream and his goal, you hear more than just words. You hear passion and determination.
Sometimes there's more to words when they're spoken.
Just about every boy at some point in their lives says they want to be a baseball player some day. They say they're going to play for their favorite team, have all the fans chant their name and scream when the ball sails over the outfield wall for home run.
For some those are just words spoken of an adolescent youth with the world and life ahead of them. But when Paul Trenhaile says Major League Baseball is his dream and his goal, you hear more than just words. You hear passion and determination.
"That's always been my dream, to get drafted," Trenhaile said. "I'm really trying to get the word out as much as possible. That's my dream, that's my goal."
It seems just like yesterday, he was the baseball standout for the Hannibal Pirates and the American Legion Post 55, but since heading off to college and playing NCAA Division II baseball for Truman State University, the humble kid is catching a lot of attention.
Last season he spent the summer playing college level ball in St. Louis and having a lot of success.
"I went down there with the attitude of I'm not sure what to expect here, who I'm going to be playing, what I'm going up against," Trenhaile said. "Once I got past the first couple of weeks and I started to get comfortable, I just felt like everything started to click, everything started to take off. It was definitely a different experience for me driving in the city and everything like that."
But to say he had a regular summer is an understatement.
Trenhaile played his full season with one team, but when another made it to the league's World Series in Toledo, Ohio, they were allowed to expand their roster. And Paul got the call.
"I was coming from this small town (Hannibal) and small school (Truman)," he said. "Once you step in there and start doing well, people are like, this kid can play."
This season he signed on to play for the Chillicothe Mudcats of the M.I.N.K. League, a summer collegiate league with teams in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
"I like it. I really like the town, they're real supportive of everyone. The team's getting along really well," Trenhaile said. "There's amazing difference how much five or six miles per hour on your fastball can make. You can be hitting fastballs at the Division II level at 85 miles per hour and you see somebody who's throwing 90, 91 — you just have to be that much quicker. I've really noticed that the Division I guys really do have something about them that makes them the Division I pitcher that they are."
Numbers don't lie though for a player like Trenhaile. Playing summer ball means competition ranges from every level of baseball from the NCAA and NAIA, but that doesn't seem to be bothering him.
"It's pretty much all the same, still the great game of baseball," he said. "It's going to be played the same way, maybe something different with the way a pitcher throws or pitches that he has."
Through July 7, Trenhaile is batting .441 in 93 at-bats with 41 hits, six doubles, a pair of triples and a home run in just 29 games played. He has also scored 22 runs, collected 16 RBIs and stolen five bases.
His efforts at the plate and in the field as the everyday first baseman earned him the honor of Player of the Month for June in the M.I.N.K. League, yet even something like that he just smiles and says very little. Making it clear he embraces his accomplishments, but doesn't let it overcome him.
"I've been raised to be a humble person. That's really what I try to do, I try to stay as humble as possible. It can be kind of hard to get caught up in it and get a big head about it. I really try to accept the opportunity for what it is, be grateful for the opportunity that's been handed my way and just really try to make the most of it. Not put too much thought behind it or make it as big as it is. I'm going to make the most of every opportunity no matter what it is," Trenhaile said. "Off the field I try to be real loose and relaxed, but once I do hit the field — once that game starts — I feel like I'm almost a different person. I'm kind of in my own zone, I don't really like to talk to people a lot, I still try to stay loose and everything because you need that. There's just this attitude about me where I just got to stay focused. If I do that it seems like everything goes better that way."
And as it appears everything is going just fine.
M.I.N.K. League Commissioner Bob Steinkamp is a Midwest scout for the Seattle Mariners, and when he's catching a Chillicothe game Trenhaile has his full attention.
Trenhaile becomes eligible for the MLB draft next summer, it's very much possible a year from now he could be signing a major league contract.
With who? That of course remains to be seen. Just don't doubt him. His words and playing skills will prove you wrong.