GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sisters Avery and Alexandria, mother Lisa and father Mark are in Hawaii this weekend to see Daniel Schlereth pitch for Arizona.
Schlereth shines on diamond
The Arizona closer takes his dad's football mentality to the mound with him
Daniel Schlereth grew up watching his father, Mark, win three Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos.
He also saw him battle back from nearly 30 surgeries.
The younger Schlereth is the closer for the Arizona baseball team as the Wildcats play Hawaii in a three-game series starting tonight at Les Murakami Stadium.
"I probably knew forever that baseball was my future," said Daniel, who was an outstanding quarterback in high school. "He never really pushed me to play football. Because of all the injuries in football I think he likes I'm playing baseball. You can have a longer career."
There's also a question of talent. Schlereth is left-handed and his fastball was timed at 97 mph earlier this year. He's a definite pro prospect.
"To be honest, I was big on football, seeing my dad play, deep down I think football's my favorite. But my 5-foot-1034 inch stature doesn't make me a prime candidate for the NFL," Daniel said. "I still love to throw (the football) around in the offseason, get a pickup game going."
Mark Schlereth said he never played baseball. But he coached Daniel, "from T-ball up to high school."
"It was a lot of fun. I knew nothing about baseball, but learned from people who did. He became a success in spite of my coaching. When he got to high school it was important for me to become a fan instead of a coach," the father said.
COURTESY LUKE ADAMS / ARIZONA ATHLETICS
Daniel Schlereth has four saves in eight appearances for Arizona this season. His ERA is 1.46.
Mark travels more now than he did during his 12 seasons in the NFL. The family home is in Colorado and he commutes to Bristol, Conn., each week for two days of ESPN taping. Then he stops back at home before meeting up with Daniel and the Wildcats wherever they are playing that weekend.
Sometimes it's a complete family outing.
Since UA is playing in Hawaii this week, it's a special treat for Lisa Schlereth, Mark's wife and Daniel's mother. Like Mark, she is from Alaska, but the former Lisa Sera has many relatives who have lived in the Kaimuki area for generations. She spent a lot of her childhood in Hawaii, and is an alumnus of Kapiolani Community College and UH.
Daniel and his sisters Alexandria (an actress in Los Angeles who has appeared on MyTV's "Desire") and Avery (an aspiring dancer who is in high school) have also spent plenty of time in Hawaii with their relatives. They're all here for the series, and will be joined at the games by extended family that lives here.
"Oh my gosh, we'll probably have about 20 people we call auntie and uncle at the games this week," Daniel said.
Lisa said the travel schedule is challenging.
"We've all gone with Mark to three of the five (weekend series). It's a little bit crazy, but (Mark) and Daniel are very, very close," she said. "It's a little hectic right now, but with this being his draft year he really wanted to be with him. This could be his last year of college."
Daniel said he doesn't think pro scouts will be scared off by Tommy John elbow surgery he underwent after his senior season of high school.
"If anything, I feel like I throw harder now, and haven't had any problems with it," he said. Schlereth's football background makes him a good fit for the closer role.
"It probably helped me, seeing quarterbacks going down the field with less than 2 minutes to go, trying to win the game, you definitely have to be used to it, dealing with pressure," he said.
He is perfect in his last seven save opportunities, going back to last season.
"He's been just short of spectacular," Arizona coach Andy Lopez said. "He likes that role. Daniel's done a very good job in the closing role. We're very comfortable with him coming in from the seventh inning on."