BASEBALL: Palomar sports stay in the family
Palomar baseball has become a family affair with assistant coach Troy Afenir and his son Audie on the same team and taking the same class.
Troy left Palomar at 19 to play professional baseball, and never reiceved a degree, he wanted to return to school to prove the importance of an education to Audie and the team. Troy has also been coaching the Comets for three years, and this is Audie’s second season at Palomar. The family’s baseball legacy began when Troy and his brothers Steve, Ricky and Tom played for Palomar and then went on to play professionally.
Audie’s mother and Troy’s wife is also a part of the Palomar pedigree, she received her associate’s degree and played softball at Palomar. Troy’s nephew Ty played shortstop at Palomar in 2010 and now plays baseball for the University of Washington.
Troy said he is proud to see his son follow in his cleats, so-to-speak, but says what’s most important is education, and if sports can help him get an education, then why not do it.
“I want Audie to learn from my experiences, he knows that my goal for him is to put out effort and to play consistent, and to take on the opportunities that come his way in sports and academically,” Troy said.
Audie said that he feels no added pressure having his father for a coach and said, “he separates the game from life.”
Audie has an excellent learning opportunity, since lots of other players fathers don’t know the game as well said Head Coach Buck Taylor.
Audie has also been lucky enough to have family support throughout most of his baseball pursuits. His coach at Escondido High School was Troy’s brother, his uncle.
“For those student athletes that get to play ball with family members, it is a great experience,” Troy said.
Not only does the father-son duo play well together, they studied together, too. Last semester both Afenirs were enrolled in the same oceanography lecture and lab classes.
“The first time we went to our lab class together it was a little weird, but it was fun the rest of the year,” Audie said. “He made me stay on top of my homework, and it was helpful to have someone there.”
While they both worked hard at the class, Troy admits that Audie received a higher grade.
Troy said he forgot how much work a student does, and how hard it is. He said that he was reminded when he finished his first semester back. It had been a while since Troy attended classes. When he was 19 years old, Troy left Palomar to play professional baseball. Troy said baseball made it possible for him to travel all over the world.
While Troy had a colorful career in baseball, he said that always wanted to go back to Palomar and finish the education that he started as a kid. He was determined to prove the importance of an education to his son and the other players on the team.
After playing his final professional game in 1992, Troy has applied his extensive experience to coaching Palomar’s team.
“The one absolute for all baseball players is that we are all going to stop playing someday, some of us just stop before others,” Troy said.
For Audie the game has just begun, he is working on his associate’s degree in social and behavioral sciences, and was a first team selection for the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference as the starting first baseman for the Comets in 2011.
Audie, who is both a catcher and a first baseman, had a perfect fielding average and a batting average of .324 with 17 RBIs, last season.
This season, Audie had the highest batting average on the team with a .348. He had 46 hits and drove in 23 runs. He also hit two home runs, which was the most on the team. He only struck out six times and had a fielding percentage of .955.