Washington's Own Aaron Trolia is Living a Dream

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Aaron Trolia always wanted to be a baseball player, but the University Place, Wash. native never dreamed it'd happen with the team he grew up rooting for.

"I remember being the only kid with baseball pants on when everyone else was wearing shorts, said Trolia, a Mariners' 2004 draft choice, of his earliest baseball memory.

A life-long Seattle Mariners fan, Trolia says even though his parents didn't play baseball, that "they are huge fans of the Mariners and especially of me."

After attending Curtis High, Trolia went to community college then transferred to Clemson University in South Carolina to major in Economics. But the start of his college career went differently then he envisioned it would.

"Clemson wanted to use me late in games or as a closer," said Trolia, now a starter with the High-A Inland Empire 66ers. "My sophomore year was really my first full year of just pitching."

A change of schools and majors was in order. He transferred to local school, Washington State University, and changed majors to Psychology.

"I have a couple of semesters left, and I plan on finishing up either this off-season or the next," said the 24-year-old righty. "It is something to fall back on, definitely."

Trolia pitched in Everett of the Northwest League last year, compiling a 2-2 record and a 4.83 ERA. The move up from Everett to Inland Empire this season, skipping Wisconsin, has been quite a change for the right-hander.

"There is a ton of difference," he said. "There are no holes in the lineups. Every pitch counts. You can't take a pitch off. There are always a couple of guys in every lineup in the Northwest League that can't hit but everyone up here can hit. That's a big thing here."

This is Trolia's first full season pitching as a starter and he has had an up and down season so far, going 1-3 with a 4.81 ERA.

"He was in the bullpen last year," said 66ers manager Daren Brown of his first year starter. "He is a sinkerball guy. There is no reason for a guy with his stuff, a good sinker, to not to pitch well. He's learning to make adjustments"

The season is long and will undoubtedly have its share of ups and downs, but Trolia is living his dream. He began an off-season training regimen this past winter that appears to have paid off.

"I started working out harder in the offseason and between my starts," he said. "I am just trying to keep my body in shape, trying to stay healthy for the whole year. But, even as you improve, there are bumps in the road."

The future looks bright for the young man who wore baseball pants too often as a kid.

"You want to move up but you want to win a championship wherever you are at," he said. "We have a good group of guys that can do something special here. It's been a slow start but it's a long season."

Trolia wants to be the local kid who does well. He wants to hear his name over the PA system at Safeco Field in the next couple of years. With a lot of work and a little luck, his dream may one day be realized.

Angel Almeida can be reached for feedback at angel.l.almeida@gmail.com.

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