By Phil Anastasia
Millville High School baseball coach Roy Hallenbeck said he tries to stay up every night to watch Mike Trout’s games on the West Coast.
But Hallenbeck managed only to stay up to see Trout, a star centerfielder for the Los Angles Angels and a Millville graduate, take a called third strike in his first at bat Tuesday night against the Seattle Mariners.
“I try to stay up, but it’s getting late in the year, and I’m exhausted,” Hallenbeck said.
On Wednesday morning, Hallenbeck said his wife, who usually gets up earlier, greeted him by saying, “Everybody on the Facebook is talking about Mikey hitting for the cycle.?”
“Are you kidding me?” Hallenbeck said to her.
She was serious.
After that strikeout in the first inning, Trout drove in five runs and became the youngest American League player to hit for the cycle as the Angels rolled over the Mariners, 12-0.
Trout, 21, became the sixth player in Angels history to hit for the cycle and the youngest major leaguer to do so since Hall of Famer Mel Ott did it for the New York Giants in 1929.
Trout singled in the third inning, tripled in the fourth, doubled in the sixth and homered in the eighth. With his five RBIs, he leads the Angels with 34.
“It’s amazing” Hallenbeck said. “It’s so rare. You have to have a little bit of luck in there. We’re so proud of him.”
Hallenbeck said Trout never hit for the cycle at Millville. He said Trout had several multi-homer games in high school. But their field is so short that “it was either a double or a home run. He didn’t have many triples.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was as impressed as Hallenbeck.
“That last pitch he hit for the home run, he took it off the ground and drove it the other way,” Wedge said. “He looks stronger this year. He’s a great athlete and just a special young player.”
Trout, last season’s AL rookie of the year and MVP runner-up, said he was more impressed Tuesday with teammate Josh Hamilton clubbing a homer and triple his first two at bats than he was with himself.
“It was one of those nights,” Trout said. “I didn’t really think about it until about the eighth inning. And when I got on deck, I started feeling it a little bit. To be honest, I thought Josh was going to hit for the cycle after his first two at-bats.
“I wasn’t thinking about myself.”
This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.
Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter