Traverse City Beach Bums hitting coach Shannon Hunt left the team two months ago.
Now he’s taking a little bit of Traverse City with him.
Trent McDougall, a standout first baseman and pitcher at Traverse City West, will be going to New Mexico Highlands University as a preferred walk-on. Hunt was hired as associate head baseball coach at Division 2 NMHU on Aug. 1. The two had known each other since McDougall started working in the Beach Bums’ clubhouse this spring.
When the 18-year-old, 6-foot-4 McDougall showed up for his first day of work in the Wuerfel Park clubhouse, Hunt thought he was a Beach Bums player who he’d be coaching.
He was right — just off a bit on the timing and location.
“He didn’t look like a clubby,” Hunt said. “He didn’t look like a bat boy. The first time I met him, I thought he was a player. I was like, ‘Are you a hitter or a pitcher?’”
Turns out, he was both. The left-hander hit over .400 for TC West and was one of the Titans’ top pitchers. In the Near-Far All-Star Game, he struck out four in two scoreless innings to earn the win.
“He reminded me a lot of Jayson Werth,” Hunt said. “I looked at him and said, ‘I wonder if that is what Jayson Werth looked like in high school?’ He doesn’t say two words to you. He could probably break your nose, but he doesn’t say two words to you. He grows on me. He tells me about playing junior hockey and we hit it off.”
Hunt emphasizes that he didn’t have all that much to do with McDougall’s success at quickly finding a college baseball landing spot after an attempt to keep his junior hockey career going.