The familiar sight of the Trejo family sitting in the stands together for a softball game in Tucson — with one of their own playing — may have come to a completion for a while Wednesday night at Lincoln Park.
Next up, games in Las Vegas.
What a run it has been in their hometown, first in youth softball leagues about a decade ago when Mia was 10 and Alyssa 8. They later played two seasons together with Tucson High School winning 52 games before Mia graduated in 2017 and began to star at UNLV.
“They’ve been at it a long time and we’ve seen them together on the same field periodically,” said their father Steve Trejo, a longtime youth softball coach with the Arizona Cats program.
“Any time they can get together is definitely special to see them out there.”
The Trejos — Steve and wife Angelina, Mia and sons Nicolas and Antonio — watched Alyssa play what might be her final game in Tucson Wednesday night in the Kino Southern Arizona High School All-Star Game at Lincoln Park.
“It sunk in last Thursday when Alyssa graduated that this is it,” Steve said. “It really hit me last week, but we’re excited.”
They are excited to see Alyssa join Mia at UNLV — coached by former Arizona standout Kristie Fox — reuniting their career together for two more seasons. The spectating for the Trejos from here on out will shift to Las Vegas unless in the near future UNLV schedules games against Arizona at Hillenbrand Stadium, or the Rebels travel to Tucson for the postseason.
Knowing that Wednesday night might have been her last game in Tucson, Alyssa, an infielder, said, “I’m kind of sad, honestly. I’m really sad but I’m going on to bigger and better things so this (playing at UNLV with Mia) will be really fun for right now.”
Mia is a junior-to-be two-time All-Mountain West first-team selection at first base with the Rebels. This past season, she recorded career highs in home runs (eight) and RBIs (42), both team-best totals.
“She also made the Dean’s List, so she is doing the job more importantly in the classroom (as an Architecture Studies major) and also on the field,” Steve said. “We brought them up teaching them that hard work pays off and respect is earned. It’s not given. That’s the discipline we try to teach our kids.”
Steve played baseball at Flowing Wells but said he did not reach his potential by playing in college because he “didn’t make the grades.” He and his wife have put countless hours toward the development of their six children with the hope, like any responsible parent, that their kids can become more successful than them.
“That’s a big push for me, not only for the kids to go to college but try to use some athletic money to help out mom and dad,” he said. “That’s a big drive to help them out and realize that.”
Mia played at Tucson High under former Arizona player Danielle Rodriguez. She is now coached at UNLV by another Mike Candrea protégé although she was recruited to UNLV by former coach Lisa Dodd, who resigned to coach at Santa Clara. Fox, who played at Arizona from 2004 to 2007 and won two NCAA titles with the Wildcats, was hired by UNLV after she coached at Texas-Arlington for five seasons.
“We found out that (Fox) was coming the July before my freshman year, so it was kind of a shock,” Mia said. “I was a little bit scared, but I couldn’t ask for a better coach for all the great things that she has done. She has done an amazing job so far.
“I love playing for her and having her as my mentor and my coach.”
The UNLV program has undergone a remarkable renaissance under Fox, who is building a resume to be a coach of a Power Five program (Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12).
The Rebels completed back-to-back 30-win seasons in the first two years under Fox, the program’s first consecutive 30-win seasons since 2009 and 2010 and just the sixth and seventh 30-win seasons since 1996. UNLV went 33-20 in her first season — the Rebels’ first winning season in six years — and 36-14 this year, just missing going to a regional.
The 36 wins are the most since the 2007 team went 37-27.
“(Fox) is really fun. We really connect on different levels, so the whole environment, the team and everybody in it,” Alyssa gave as reasons why the sisters have pursued a career at UNLV.
Alyssa concluded her Tucson High career playing for legendary coach Bert Otero this season after Rodriguez stepped down. In her 105-game career with the Badgers, Alyssa batted .474 with 14 home runs, 35 doubles and 99 RBIs. She was a phenomenal .608 hitter this season with 45 hits in 74 at-bats.
The last time Mia and Alyssa played a game together was nearly two years ago capping a storied two years together at Tucson High. They went 52-17 in 2016 and 2017 before Mia graduated and went to UNLV. Another Tucsonan is on the Rebels’ roster — former Ironwood Ridge standout outfielder Reina Bondi, who will be a senior next season.
“We really respect Kristie Fox a lot, on the field, off the field, everything,” Steve said. “From start to finish, her program is just amazing. I am very, very pleased.
“I really tried to push that (having his daughters play together at UNLV) and try to work that out for Alyssa as well. We took her to a couple of camps, got on the field and did her job. She was able to earn some respect from Fox and work that out.”
With Steve’s busy schedule coaching a 12U team with Arizona Cats, he and Angelina will not be able to make it to Las Vegas for a lot of games, but they will be in the stands as much as they can. They look forward to having those bonding family reunions centered around the game they all love.
“We’re ecstatic. We’re really, really excited,” Steve said. “We’ve had a lot of fun watching them play as they were growing up and play for a couple of years together on the high school field.
“We couldn’t ask for more. We’re very blessed having them together on that field again.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.