Rio baseball inks Zane Trace standout

Zane Trace High School’s Trent Downs prepares to
sign the paperwork to continue his baseball career at
the University of Rio Grande. Pictured are, from left
to right, (seated) Terry Downs, Trent Downs, Beth
Downs; (standing) Rio Grande baseball head coach
Brad Warnimont, Zane Trace High head baseball
coach Ron Allen.

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – University of Rio Grande head baseball coach Brad Warnimont has announced the signing of Zane Trace High School's Trent Downs for the 2014 season.

Downs, a 6-foot-0, 185-pound third baseman/pitcher, led the Pioneers to a 20-10 finish this season. Head coach Ron Allen's squad, which suffered a season-ending extra inning loss to Oak Hill in the Division III district championship game, reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth time in the past 13 seasons.

The district final meeting with Oak Hill also marked the eighth time since 2000 that Zane Trace reached the title game.

Downs batted a team-best .410, while also leading the Pioneers in hits (38), runs batted in (33) and on-base percentage (.475).

As a pitcher, Downs finished with a 6-5 record and a 1.65 earned run average. In 12 appearances, 10 of which were starts, he authored eight complete games. In 72 innings of work, he allowed 73 hits and 15 walks while striking out a team-high 51 batters.

"I'm not only excited, but I'm honored, to get the chance to play at the next level," Downs said. "Having an opportunity to play college baseball is something that I've wanted ever since I was playing in Little League."

Downs' big senior season also resulted in his selection to the All-Scioto Valley Conference first team.

"Right now, Trent's another possible dual-role guy for us," said Warnimont. "He put up some very good numbers in high school. I think once he gets adjusted to the speed of the game at the college level we'll see exactly where he fits in, whether on the mound or at third base."

Downs, who plans to major in Wildlife Management, chose to sign with the RedStorm after also receiving interest from Wilmington University.

"Rio Grande's a great school," he said. "The coaches at Rio are serious about the game of baseball. That really got my interest."

Warnimont said that Downs' flexibility as a player - not to mention that he's the product of a very successful prep program - made him an attractive signee.

"Trent put up some nice numbers on the mound and he was the ace of the staff. At the plate, he led his team in a number of different categories. He's a gamer and that's what we're looking for," Warnimont said.

Downs admitted that he'd like to improve upon his footspeed, but added that he's willing to do whatever he can to help the RedStorm continue their winning ways.

He's also set the bar about as high as possible when it comes to what he wants to accomplish in a Rio uniform.

"I'd like to be in the Rio Grande Athletic Hall of Fame someday and, hopefully, get drafted," Downs said.  

Downs is the son of Terry and Beth Downs of Kingston, Ohio.