Romine Has Big Shoes To Fill At Arizona State

Jan. 28, 2005

Kevin Romine promised his wife that he wouldn't influence their son's decision on where to attend college.

'He wasn't allowed to talk on my recruiting trip,' Andrew Romine said of his visit to Arizona State.

His father could have said plenty. ASU is where Kevin was a two-time All-American. He is the only player to manage consecutive 100-hit, .400 seasons, holds school records for career batting average (.408), single-season (59) and career (86) stolen base records, and played on the last national championship team (1981).

'My mom didn't want me going where my dad wanted me to go, so he just laid back and let me make my own decision,' Andrew said. 'When I actually got here, there was such an aura around the field. I didn't want to go anywhere else once I saw this place.'

Tonight, the Romine II era begins at ASU. Kevin not only has his father's legacy to chase but that of his predecessor at shortstop, three-time All-American Dustin Pedroia.

As if that wasn't enough pressure.

'He puts a lot of pressure on himself,' ASU coach Pat Murphy said. 'He's a tenacious worker, but he's young, and he needs to learn how to handle it all. Usually young kids don't have plate discipline, and they get themselves out. You throw on top of that Andrew's a real grinder.'

Murphy plans to start Romine and freshman center fielder J.J. Sferra low in a lineup blessed with five returning starters and a senior transfer from Miami (Fla.).

That should allow the rookies to concentrate on defense.

'When I was a freshman, I was a little bug-eyed about everything going on around me,' said Joey Hooft, the Miami transfer who will play second base. 'Andrew seems to hold himself well and looks like a veteran out there. He's a great shortstop.'

Romine made two stellar plays and one error in the alumni game last week. Kevin, who played seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox and now is a police officer in Los Angeles, made his alumni team debut. Both wore No. 12.

'When I looked at the field, I thought the more things change, the more they stay the same,' Kevin said. 'It kind of brings back a lot of memories you forget along the way. I'm real happy to get a chance to watch the team and Andrew play.

'I'd like to see them get back to Omaha and to make that trip again one summer. Hopefully he'll be a part of it.'

The ninth-ranked Sun Devils have been to the College World Series seven times since 1981, finishing second twice.

Kevin Romine played outfield and hit .410 in ASU's fifth national championship season.

Now, it's about Andrew, who was a top 100 national recruit out of Lake Forest, Calif., and how his skills translate at the next level.

'You earn your playing stripes by being ready,' Murphy said. 'And Andrew's ready.'

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