Hawks' Lockhart had one career plan: Baseball

The major-leaguer's son developed a passion for the game at a young age.

clangrill@idahostatesman.comJune 20, 2013 

Danny Lockhart was selected by the Cubs in the 10th round of the 2011 draft. He spent last season playing rookie ball in Arizona, and has played in all six of the Hawks’ games this season.

KYLE GREEN — kgreen@idahostatesman.com

— Everyone has heard stories about a young athlete playing a sport to please an overbearing father.

That's not Danny Lockhart's story.

"The funny thing is, (my father) was always traveling, and my mom would tell me when I was a kid I would go outside and hit off the tee, even before I started playing T-ball," said Lockhart, an infielder in his first season with the Boise Hawks.

Lockhart's father, Keith Lockhart, played 10 years in the major leagues. From 1994 to 2003, he played six seasons for the Braves, two for the Royals and two with the Padres. He finished with a career batting average of .261 and 268 RBIs.

Danny Lockhart started attending his father's games at a young age. And while his friends quickly became bored with the game, Lockhart was captivated.

"Whenever we would go to his games, when I was 4 or 5 years old, I would sit on the edge of my seat and watch inning one through nine, without even blinking the whole time almost, or without my mom having to keep me there," Lockhart said. "I didn't go run around with the other kids. I would just sit and watch the whole game, and never have any problems."

From that point on, Lockhart had no use for career counselors.

"I grew up loving (baseball), and ever since I was a kid my mom was like, 'Well, what do you want to do?' And I would just say, 'Play baseball,' " Lockhart said. "I never really had another plan."

Lockhart had the work ethic and natural ability to make his dream come true. As a shortstop, he helped his Dacula, Ga., high school team win a state title.

Lockhart hasn't done much at the plate for the Hawks this season (he is hitting .143 with two RBIs), but he's impressed manager Gary Van Tol with his play at third base, which isn't his natural position.

"He hasn't played a lot of third base, so we just kind of threw him into the fire," Van Tol said. "He's responded really well. He's a guy that can play, and needs to play, all three infield positions (second, third and shortstop)."

Lockhart understands that.

"The old phrase is that if you're coming up through the system and there's Cal Ripken at shortstop, you're not playing shortstop," he said. "So it's great to get a good feel for third base. I've felt more comfortable as I've gotten more games there."

Lockhart showed that in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 5-1 victory as he made a nifty play after Salem-Keizer outfielder Randy Ortiz put down a bunt. Lockhart read the play, made a move down the line, barehanded the ball and threw out Ortiz.

"You can tell he's been around the game his whole life, and he's very comfortable on the field," Van Tol said. "He knows about the grind and the commitment level. … Now he's just got to create his own path and find out for himself what he needs to do."

HAWKS EARN FIRST HOME WIN

Outfielder Yasiel Balaguert knocked in two runs with the bases loaded to break open a scoreless game, and the Hawks beat the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-1 on Wednesday night at Memorial Stadium.

It was the first loss of the season for Salem-Keizer (5-1), which took the first two games of the three-game series. Boise starter James Pugliese had his second solid outing to earn the win, and Corbin Hoffner and Mike Hamann pitched four innings of no-hit relief.

NOTE: Catcher Cael Brockmeyer, a 16th-round pick this year, has signed with the Cubs. The Cal State Bakersfield product is the first player from this year's draft to join the Hawks.

Chris Langrill: 377-6424

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