The Daily Evergreen

Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

WSU+senior+left-hander+Trenton+Dupre+delivers+a+pitch+against+Utah+Valley+University+in+a+game+on+March+5%2C+2016%2C+at+Bailey-Brayton+Field.
WSU senior left-hander Trenton Dupre delivers a pitch against Utah Valley University in a game on March 5, 2016, at Bailey-Brayton Field.

WSU senior left-hander Trenton Dupre delivers a pitch against Utah Valley University in a game on March 5, 2016, at Bailey-Brayton Field.

WSU senior left-hander Trenton Dupre delivers a pitch against Utah Valley University in a game on March 5, 2016, at Bailey-Brayton Field.

BRADEN JOHNSON | Evergreen sports editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Whistling winds and snowbanks piled up along the warning track of Bailey-Brayton Field marked the turn into March as the WSU baseball team readied for a weekend series with Stephen F. Austin.

Wednesday’s sub-40-degree weather, no fit to host a two-week homestand, heard the popping of a catcher’s mitt as redshirt junior left-hander Damon Jones threw a quick bullpen in preparation for his Friday start, freshman catcher Cal Waterman cracking jokes with the southpaw and the scraping of the pitching staff shoveling snow off the field. Sophomore shortstop Andres Alvarez strapped on an EvoShield to his left arm, taking in the scene.

Then there was senior left-hander Trenton Dupre, standing idly off to the side bundled in his puffy, team-issued, crimson-colored coat next to a foam roller.

Going about his own business, getting ready for the practice ahead and taking in the experience, Dupre’s demeanor reflected the new set of expectations given to him. For a team with 18 newcomers, the five-foot-nine-inch Yakima native has transformed from a young buck into the team’s sole senior in a matter of months.

“I’ve never been a leader in the sense that I’m a verbal leader,” Dupre said. “I kind of just go out and do my job and have others lead by example, but I’m trying to be a little more vocal this year and have others help me along the way.”

You won’t find Dupre lighting up the radar gun like sophomore right-hander Parker McFadden or leaving batters cross-eyed with a mid-80’s slider the way newly-anointed junior closer Scotty Sunitsch has done to opponents of late. Dupre’s cool demeanor doesn’t command fan attention in the same manner Alvarez’s behind-the-back throws have captivated eyes. But the reliever is always there, and his presence speaks for itself.

Throughout last year’s 17-29 campaign in Head Coach Marty Lees’ first year at the helm, Dupre often found himself making a spot start for a team struggling with its pitching depth or being told that he would be the first lefty entering the game out of the pen. Sometimes, Dupre helped close out a ballgame for WSU.

Lees said that this year’s team can match any opponent’s bullpen because of its versatility and influx of freshman and transfers. For Dupre, his contribution has been to continue working as a stabilizing anchor for a rebuilding program. In the team’s come-from-behind win over the Lumberjacks on Sunday, Dupre fired two-and-two-thirds innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win.

“Having him be able to be left-handed and be able to throw whatever pitch we need and do whatever we need to start an inning, finish an inning, get to the next pitcher, we feel good about that,” Lees said.

Dupre returned to his home state two years ago with the goal of representing WSU and playing against some of the country’s best competition. After finishing up at nearby A.C. Davis High School in 2013, he ventured to the Midwest to play his first two years of college ball at Murray State College in Oklahoma, wanting to start immediately and gain experience before transferring.

“I had about 70 innings each year, so I was coming here pretty experienced. Not in the Pac-12 Division I level sense, but we faced a lot of good hitters down there,” Dupre said. “I just wanted a lot of experience and a lot of playing time under my belt so that way, I wasn’t thrown into something that I wasn’t ready for.”

Carrying himself with a collected demeanor and calm presence on the mound, mixing in a breaking ball and slider to compliment a mid-80’s fastball, the one thing Dupre was never bashful about was his desire to pitch for WSU.

Lees said he ran a check on Dupre while he was coaching at Oklahoma State and communicated with WSU’s previous coaching staff about the lefty, and felt that Dupre’s interest in the program and close proximity to home made him a good fit for the rebuilding effort.

Dupre’s leadership growth has been enhanced by feeding off the experiences of other members of the pitching staff. For Dupre, it does not matter if it comes at the expense of seeing the team’s newcomers take on larger roles than his own.

“I like to sit back and enjoy [watching] them have experience,” Dupre said. “When I was young, I was learning from older guys and they liked to see me have experience and succeed. It’s a team, so I like to see everyone succeed day-by-day.”

A pitcher who is not going to overpower hitters with a plus-fastball or a knee-buckling curve, Dupre instead relies on his coaching staff and work ethic to carry him through. In year two of his WSU tenure, Dupre said that both he and the collective pitching staff have worked to hold runners and combat the small-ball offensive approaches the Pac-12 is known for.

As Lees continues to elevate his expectations of everyone involved with the program, Dupre has been the skipper’s steady presence out of the ‘pen.

“He has a huge role in what we are doing,” Lees said. “He’s a mature kid, he knows what it’s supposed to look like on the mound. He’s a breath of fresh air because he’s an older kid and he knows how to pitch.”

With Sunitsch leading the Pac-12 in saves (four) through the first three weeks of the season, Dupre no longer finds himself handling closing duties the way he did in the month of May last season, posting three saves to round out the year. Nor does Lees need him as a weekend starter at this point in the season, as Anderson and Jones have proven to be durable weekend lefties. However, being called upon in middle relief suits Dupre’s tastes fine.

Aside from throwing outs, Dupre said he simply tries to contribute to the team by hustling, picking up teammates and carrying grades in the classroom, an expectation Lees said comes for any player after he finishes his first season.

“If you get good grades, other guys are going to try and be that guy in your successes,” Dupre said.

On the diamond, Dupre thrives in doing the dirty work for the Cougars. Acting as a player that Lees said “serves his team, works hard and is selfless,” Dupre lives for the pressure situations in being called in from the bullpen.

Describing the feeling of not knowing when you are going to enter the game as fun and well-suited for him, it allows an otherwise easygoing player to let loose.

“I love getting that third out and getting the team riled up,” Dupre said. “That’s kind of my deal.”

Dupre’s aggressive nature on the bump may not always carry over into his interactions with the team as its senior leader, but his rugged individualism displayed in Pullman is expected to carry over into his future.

A sport management major, Dupre has the goal of hearing his name called in June’s MLB Draft and playing professional baseball. If it does not pan out, Dupre said that he is fine with seeing where working in the front office of a professional sport organization leads him.

As the Cougars (6-4) open their Pac-12 slate at USC next week, Lees said that the team’s reshuffling of roles and new additions gives Dupre a chance to cement his legacy and establish himself as a primary leader going forward.

“Leadership’s a tough thing. You’ve got to lead by example and be able to do it on the field,” Lees said. “[He] probably needs to speak up a little more, but we’ve got a lot of new players so leaders emerge as we go through it.”

Wednesday afternoon’s practice did not levy befitting conditions for pitchers looking to keep their arms loose and work through scouting reports on the visiting Lumberjacks. Each hurler tossed a 12-20 pitch bullpen session, worked through conditioning and calisthenics, and convened for all-squad team sessions.

Dupre became almost unnoticeable in the crowd, handling his work and not serving any glorified role with the team. Rather, just being a teammate and practicing good habits in faith that younger members of the team will pick them up and carry on when senior day rolls around at the end of May.

It is part of Dupre’s overarching legacy with WSU baseball, to be that figure who stepped into a transition phase for the program and help build a bridge for future pitchers and recruiting classes.

“When it’s all said and done he leaves this program better than when he got here,” Lees said. “That’s what it’s all about. I know he’ll do it in the classroom, so we’ve got to do it on the baseball field.”

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    Run for 3 honors Hilinski

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    An unexpected arrival

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    Proud past of Pelluer

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    ‘Coming back here, it’s coming home’

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    Orange Bowl Committee visits Pullman for first time

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    A late start, but a Sweet finish

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Administration

    Schulz joins College Football Playoff board of managers

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    Martin breaks program record in final year

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    Proving them right

  • Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior

    Features

    Difference maker

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






No P.R. No B.S. No Retreat. Watchdogs since 1895
Dupre leads by example as Cougars’ lone senior