Thursday, September 13, 2001
Frustration, frustration, frustration.
through tough season
By Al Chase
There is no better word to describe the season Keoni DeRenne fought through with Greenville, S.C., the Atlanta Braves Class-AA team in the Southern League.
It started in spring training when the Iolani School graduate suffered a back injury (bulging disk) and did nothing but rehabilitate for three weeks. Fortunately, an MRI examination indicated the disk wasn't herniated.
When the regular season began he had only five exhibition games under his belt and the first three weeks of league play amounted to his spring training.
"I had a bad start. I didn't get my first hit until the seventh game and went 2-for-38 to open the season," DeRenne said.
The struggles at the plate continued and it did not make any difference where Greenville manager Paul Runge place DeRenne in the lineup. He saw his name on the lineup card in every spot except 4, 5 and 6.
"I've never hit .240 anywhere in my life. I wasn't even making good contact with the ball," DeRenne said. "When you don't make contact and don't even know what's wrong, it's very frustrating. I didn't want the late start to be an excuse, because I was seeing the ball. For me, I wanted to keep my job. I didn't want to sit down. I wanted to prove they made the right decision in putting me in Double-A."
The Iolani School graduate and four-year starter at the University of Arizona is not satisfied with his 2001 season. He knows people will tell him to look at the positives, that it was his first season in Double-A, etc., etc., but for a player who expects a lot of himself, that's not good enough.
Health wise, he was fine during the season, but admits his first experience with a 142-game schedule drained him physically at times. He stretched more and did more running to combat the weariness. Mechanically he felt fine, but breaks, like a ball dropping in here or there eluded DeRenne.
"They would say my timing is off or the pitcher is dominating, but I don't feel I've been overmatched," DeRenne. "Although, I must admit, I've never seen as many good relievers as I have this year.
"This is one of the toughest professions for a young player to be in. It's no cake walk. There is a lot on your mind, but you still want to go out and play the game and have fun with it.
"Baseball is hard. Everyone would play it if it were easy. I kind of got a second wind mentally, but maybe this is how God wanted me to finish. I can tell you, I'm not happy at all."
The shortstop/second baseman ended up with a .238 batting average.
DeRenne will spend this fall in Tucson. Ariz., working toward his degree at UA. He needs three semesters to complete his undergraduate requirements.
Height: 5-7. Weight: 162. Throws: Right. Bats: Both.
KEONI DERENNE'S CAREER STATISTICS
Schools: Iolani, Arizona
|Year, Team, League||G||AB||R||H||2B||3B||HR||RBI||SB||Avg.|
|2000-Jamestown, New York-Penn||20||66||19||20||6||0||1||9||6||.303|
|2000-Macon, South Atlantic||38||145||13||38||9||1||1||11||3||.262|
|Minor League Totals||188||664||74||166||30||3||5||62||13||.250|
Drafted in the 12th round (370th overall) by the Atlanta Braves, June 5, 2000. Signed June 14, 2000.
This is part of a series profiling professional
baseball players from Hawaii. Tomorrow, former Rainbow center fielder
Darren Blakely will be profiled.