Date: March 28, 2019
By: Eric Leary
Today’s edition of On the Field, the Impact Baseball is checking in with Joey Miriello of Triton High School, in Erwin, NC.
At this point of the 2019 season how would you say it’s going? Based on your pre-season expectations how is your team’s progress towards those goals it may have set?
Right now we are (5-4) … I am pleased with where we are right now. By most standards we are young and somewhat inexperienced, we have the approach of taking game by game and try not to get ahead of ourselves. Our main goal is to get better with each game and learn from any mistakes we might have made the previous game mental or physical and them correct them. So far, we have done a good job of this.
Weather is always an issue for baseball. This season has definitely presented some challenges. How have you adapted to the weather?
I can’t remember a season that has been this wet in my 15 years of coaching. We have had to adapt by moving quite a few practices indoors, and try and get outside as much as we can. Our guys have done a good job adapting to these changes and I don’t feel it has affected us in any negative way.
Who are the the players in your program going on to play at the next level? Also, who on your team deserves to get some attention from those looking for top players?
Parker Crews Sr. OF has signed with Mid-Atlantic Christian University Colton Neighbors Sr. OF has had offers and interest, but has not made a decision on his future yet. Dalen Thompson Soph. SS, Ethan Hedgepeth Jr. INF, Grayson Bradham Jr. C, and Hayden Pope Fresh. RHP among a few other underclassmen have the ability to okay at the next level.
How long have you been the head baseball coach at Triton High School? And what other stops or sports have you made on your coaching journey? Additionally, who have been some influences in your coaching development?
I have been the head coach at Triton for 11 years and was the Head Coach at Douglas Byrd High School for one year at the age of 22 right out of college before I decided to come to Triton. While at Triton I was also the Head Soccer coach for 7 years but gave it up when my first daughter was born 6 years ago. Without a doubt my Dad has been my biggest influence when it comes to coaching. He was a high school baseball and basketball coach in the 60’s and 70’s. He has always been there for advice and guidance. Other than him my college coach Tom Austin was and continues to be a great source of knowledge, I definitely would not be where I am without both of them.
Who have been some of the most memorable players and teams you’ve had the opportunity to coach? What makes them stand out?
My first year as head coach in 2008 we went 19-6 and went pretty deep in the playoffs. That year was very memorable due to the success we had. Our 2014 team won the conference regular season and tournament championship which was the first championship the baseball team had won in 20 years. There have been so many players that have made my job so enjoyable and memorable but these few stand out because not only were they great players, they had great work ethics and also were great young men on and of the field. Ethan Strickland (Wingate and Brunswick CC), Dillon Stewart (UNCG, Brunswick CC), Trent Fennell (Barton, Colorado Rockies), Houston Hamilton (Brunswick CC) Aaron Hedgepeth (Mt. Olive).
Rivalries and competition can sometimes be intense. But good coaches recognize and appreciate an opponent who brings out the best in them. Which teams and coaches in your career have you found to be the most challenging to face?
I have always enjoyed the rivalries we have with South Johnston (Aaron Parnell) Harnett Central (Lance Honeycutt) and Midway (Jason Fussell) It seems like year to year regardless of what type of season expectations we may have had our games are always intense, emotional, and are always great games.
What is your favorite part of practice?
My favorite parts are cutoffs, backups, tandems, and situational ground balls and fly balls. You can cover so many things defensively with these drills and put the needed amount of pressure on my players to make the correct mental and physical decisions.
What is your favorite position or skill to coach? Favorite drill?
Catchers is my favorite position to coach and my favorite drill is fungo blocks.
What does your program do on game day that is unique or special?
My players always meet in the team room about an hour before they are required to be there and play video games or just eat lunch together. That gives them an opportunity to relax a little bit before things start to get serious and it also helps build team unity.
What is your favorite uniform and hat look for your program?
We have somewhat of a throwback look with the knicker pants which are white with a white jersey, blue stirrups with black trim and a white black and blue hat. That seems to be my players favorite uniform and it is also mine.
What do you consider to be the best part of your facility at Triton High School?
It is tough to pick one thing about our facility because in my opinion we have one of the nicest facilities around. But if I had to choose one thing it would be our team room. We built a team room about five years ago and it could rival most college team rooms.
- When your team is hitting – coach 3B or dugout? Coach 3B
- When you give signals to hitters – signs or wrist bands? Definitely signs
- When your guy hits a HR – high five or fist bump? High five
- When you are in uniform – ankle length pants or high socks? Both
- When you reach in your back pocket – stopwatch or no stopwatch? Stop watch
- When you are marking your field – chalk or painted lines? Painted lines
Thanks Coach Miriello. We here at Impact Baseball appreciate your time to share with us and we appreciate all that you do for the game!