By Dennis Garcia
Trey Wright grew up around the game of baseball so there was very little doubt that he would one day follow in the footsteps of his father and two older brothers and play the sport at a high level.
Wright, a right-handed pitcher who had his freshman year cut short at Tennessee Tech after the season was shut down due to the coronavirus, hopes to take some big steps this summer as a member of the Asheboro Copperheads. Wright and Tennessee Tech catcher Jack Schad are preparing for the move to Asheboro for the upcoming Coastal Plain League season.
"It's going to be as important as anything for me," Wright said of this summer after his freshman season was cancelled. "Being a pitcher, I'm going to need as many innings as I can get. It's hard to replicate a game."
Wright, who grew up in Huntsville, Ala., comes from a baseball family. His father, Roger Wright, played baseball at Calhoun Community College and North Alabama from 1984-87 and served as the head baseball coach at Buckhorn High School in New Market, Ala. for 17 years before stepping down in 2014 to watch his sons play. A 2016 inductee into the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame, he returned to Buckhorn as a head coach in March of 2017 and retired a second time following the 2019 season.
Trey's oldest brother, Mitchell, played baseball at West Alabama, Calhoun CC and UAH from 2012-15 and currently serves as Tennessee Tech's assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
Trey's other brother, Kyle, is well known among MLB fans, especially those of the Atlanta Braves. Kyle played baseball at Vanderbilt from 2015-17 and was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft by the Braves. Kyle made his MLB debut in September of 2018 and will be counted on to be a valuable piece in the pitching rotation in the coming years.
"That was some of the biggest fights when I was younger, still being myself," Trey said. "There are some people who will do anything to have that connection. Having Kyle as a brother has been a blessing. I can always look to him for advice.Not perfect, but pretty fun. I have a lot of people I can get advice from."
Trey Wright was a four-year letterwinner as a pitcher and first baseman in high school for his father, where he helped his team into the postseason in both 2017 and 2019. He was named the most valuable pitcher of the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Southeastern Shootout Tournament and earned AHSAA North-South All-Star honors in 2018.
In his first year at Tennessee Tech, Wright had a 1-0 record in five appearances. He allowed four hits in 7 ⅓ innings with five strikeouts. He did experience some control issues and that's one of the facets of pitching Wright said he hopes to improve on this summer.
"Always the same, command it better and throw it harder," Wright said of his goals.
Wright said he has stayed in shape the past month by attending an indoor facility with other college players in the Huntsville area.
Having Schad in Asheboro with him is a plus, Wright said.
"It's always an easier adjustment when you're with someone you know," Wright said.
Last season as a freshman, Schad started 13 games as a catcher while appearing in a total of 27 contests. He finished with a 269 batting average, .346 slugging percentage and .433 on-base percentage. He totaled six runs, 14 hits, four doubles and eight RBI while drawing 11 walks. He had a .993 fielding percentage.
This year, he had just six at bats when the season was cancelled.
"Everything definitely changed when the season was cancelled," said Schad, who played some in the Sunbelt League last summer. "This summer will be very important."
Schad won three letters as a catcher at Walton High School, hitting .333 with five home runs, a .514 on-base percentage and .615 slugging percentage as a senior. As a freshman, he helped his team to a runner-up finish at the state championship and then helped spark his team to a state title his sophomore season.
As a catcher, Schad said he will be working on improving his arm strength and controlling the running game this summer, while quickly adjusting to the new pitchers he will receive.
"I think it's important to understand personalities off the field and getting to know them, some will be faster than others,' Schad said. "It's important to know what they like to throw in certain situations and what their goals are as a pitcher."
Like Wright, Schad said he has been working out with other collegiate players in the Marietta, Ga., area, hoping to "get a little better each day."
Schad said he's excited about coming to Asheboro.
"I have looked at the (Copperheads) roster and there are guys from Wake Forest and East Carolina and I'm looking forward to learning a lot from them," Schad said.