TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Eleventh-year Tyler Junior College baseball coach Doug Wren says they use the term “mudita” within their program.
A word with Indo-Aryan and Buddhist roots that means “finding joy in the success of others.”
As the Apaches prepare for their opener Saturday in the NJCAA Division 3 World Series in Greeneville, Tenn, there maybe no better example than how first-year assistant coach and former Tyler slugger Jordan Trahan has helped power hitter and Brook Hill alum Miguel Vega break his own single-season home-run record.
“It’s been awesome. We already had, we had a little rivalry going and so having him here, uh, he likes to take a lot of credit for it and I’m okay with that. He’s helped me a lot this year,” said Vega.
“Oh, he’s a character, man. I love that guy. I think after his second home run, he kept on telling me he’s like, I’m coming for you. I’m coming for you. I never doubted him for a second. And I seen him in practice. I seen him in games, so I knew it was just a matter of time until he did it,” Trahan.
What he did is break a record that Trahan took a great deal of pride in, that he set when he helped TJC win the last two of four consecutive national championships in 2016, and 2017.
But earlier this month in the District C East final with the Apaches facing elimination, the East Texan Vega hit his 15th homer of the year giving him the new mark.
“He just hit this stretch where he was just hitting one after another. And we knew he was well on his way to do it. And when he, that last one went over the wall, it was awesome. We were so happy for “Miggy” and coach Trahan was just as happy as everybody just so proud of him,” said TJC outfielder and White Oak grad Heath Hood.
“I feel like I could never get that last one. I had three or four foul home runs that day. And you know, I feel like I was never going to do it. So when I finally did it, it felt good. And then, you know, having him there, it was awesome,” Vega explained.
“I (saw) the same fire in his eyes, I did in me. So I knew he wanted to go out there. I knew he wanted to accomplish that. So I did everything in my power just to try to help him along the way. Wasn’t really much help for him because he knows what he’s doing out there. He’s worked super hard. He worked during practice. He’ll go after practice. He just kept on doing it,” noted Trahan.
“I see him and the joy that he has in seeing Miggy break this and just kind of seeing how fun it was for him to be a part of that. It was a really cool ride. And especially for me to be a part of, just to kind of sit back and watch those two and their relationship. And so couldn’t have really scripted that any better,” said Wren.
And unlike most long-ball hitters, Vega is also second on the team in batting average, hits, and extra-base hits as Trahan has taught him to not be afraid to have the mentality of a power hitter.
“I told him that you just can’t be scared to just get the ball in the air. Like this is you. This is the type of player you are. Like, you need to get balls in the air, just hit the ball in the gaps, doubles and whatever happens happens. I think that’s been the biggest change in my game from when I first got here to now, I’m heading for more power numbers and I think it just helps the team overall,” said Trahan.
“When he steps in the box, you know, any given swing, any given pitch can be sent deep. So that’s a comforting feeling. And he also puts up great average numbers. He just hits the ball hard and good things happen when he’s at the plate,” Hood explained.
Now Vega wants to match Trahan in bringing another national crown (what would be No. 65 all-time in all sports for TJC) back to the Rose City.
“It feels good. You know, I’m from here, I’ve always, you know, came and watched T-J-C as a kid. So being on the team now and being able to go win a world series, you know, bring it back to East Texas would mean a lot,” said Vega.
The No. 2 seed Apaches face Rockingham C.C. (NC) Saturday to open play in the double-elimination Division 3 World Series at noon East Texas time.
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