Morgan Ventura has a bunch of ties to Provo High School.
He played multiple sports including baseball for the Bulldogs before graduating from Provo. He even came back to help his father, current Provo dean of students Jose Ventura, coach the Bulldog softball team for awhile.
So when Wednesday’s baseball game rolled around and Morgan Ventura was in the opposing team’s dugout wearing a Timpview uniform as the Thunderbird head baseball coach, it was a little surreal.
“It is really weird,” Morgan Ventura said. “I won a lot of games with (Provo head coach Lance Moore). It’s a different feel for sure. It’s great to be back in Provo playing against my guy. He’s still doing the same things, saying the same things. He hasn’t changed.”
The comparative success level of the two programs was pretty clear as the Bulldogs defeated Timpview, 18-0, in five innings.
“We have a good group this year who have worked really hard,” Moore said. “We’re bigger, we hit harder, we throw harder. We’ve got a lot of kids who can play. This is a good bunch of kids.”
The Thunderbirds, on the other hand, know there is a lot of work ahead of them.
“We are trying to get back to basics and get everything going the way that we want to do things,” Morgan Ventura said. “We’re trying to change the philosophy and the chemistry here, and how everyone thinks about the program. We have a lot of guys who it their first time playing, so it will be taking those guys and teaching them everything we need them to know. That’s the battle we have right now but we have some very good players as well.”
Moore agreed that it was “weird” to see Morgan Ventura with Timpview but is very confident that he will do well as a head coach.
“I wish I had him over here on my staff,” Moore said. “It’s great for him to have this opportunity. He has a good staff and I hope the community buys in and they are able to turn things around.”
Morgan Ventura said he has turned to his former coach to help mentor him through some of the challenges of being at the helm of a high school baseball program.
“He’s been fantastic,” Morgan Ventura said. “We’ve talked a few times and he’s helped me figure out how to process everything. I didn’t know that stuff. Anything I ask he’s been super-open about it. It’s been great learning. I always wanted to get into coaching. This was the time and right thing opened up, but Coach Moore has been awesome.”
Moore said that giving a little bit of help to his former star player brought back memories of when he first started coaching.
“I would order something and it would finally come in,” Moore said with a grin. “I’d open it up and be like, ‘this isn’t what I ordered!’ It’s hard. There is a lot you have to do on the administration side, things that you don’t realize.”
Morgan Ventura knows that getting his current team to be at its best is only one part of his job as he looks to get the baseball program going at Timpview.
“I’ve got to start finding those younger kids who are in our boundaries who are playing in the city leagues or the competitive leagues,” Morgan Ventura said. “That’s the base. The guys who are coming up are only going to be as good as the ones who are coming through. We have these guys who haven’t been playing a lot so they are learning. We need guys who have already learned the basics. We also have tons of athletes and I’m trying to work with them. It’s tough but I’ve been working to try to get them to start coming so we can get a few more followers. Those are the main steps we are taking to build the program.”
He knows it won’t be easy but he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I love it,” Morgan Ventura said. “When I was helping my dad with the Provo softball team, it was the same situation. It took reps and recruiting. I’ve seen it done before and I’m really excited to use that knowledge to bring it here to make those strides to make that happen.”
Provo (2-0) next hosts Alta on Friday at 3 p.m. while Timpview (0-2) heads to St. George for the Pine View Classic, which starts on Friday as well.