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Honkers manager back, with family in making

Trevor Hairgrove enjoyed his first season as manager of the Rochester Honkers so well that he didn't wait long to put his cap back in the ring for the 2016 Northwoods League season.

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Trevor Hairgrove is back for his second season as the Rochester Honkers field manager and this time he has the company of his wife, MaKenna. The newlyweds are expecting their first child on July 4, in the midst of the Northwoods League season. They will have the baby in Rochester.
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Trevor Hairgrove enjoyed his first season as manager of the Rochester Honkers so well that he didn't wait long to put his cap back in the ring for the 2016 Northwoods League season.

And his fiance-turned-wife, Makenna, was all for it.

"I told Trevor that I wanted him to come back (this summer), and I wanted to come back with him; that would be fun," said Makenna, who visited here for a week last summer.

"It was really nice for me to see him coach the Honkers and come into his own as a manager, in charge of his own team," she recalled.

The young California couple, who met on the dating app Tinder, was married last August, just two weeks after the 2015 Honkers season ended. At the end of September, Trevor told the Honkers he'd like to return. In mid October, he had to reconsider.

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The Hairgrove's learned that Makenna is pregnant, and the couple is expecting their first child on July 4 — right in the middle of the Honkers' schedule.

"This was not planned whatsoever," Trevor assured with a laugh. "There definitely were some second thoughts. I didn't know if we'd go back out there (to Minnesota) or not."

The Hairgrove's are in Rochester now, and Trevor will be back in the dugout when the Honkers open their 23rd season Tuesday night at Eau Claire, Wis., against the Express. The Honkers' home opener is Wednesday night at Mayo Field against Eau Claire.

"I really did want to come back," Trevor assured. "This is what I want to do for my living, and being in Rochester for a second season would be great on my resume."

Family concerned

The Hairgrove's took several weeks to digest their new life course and consider their options. In December they decided that Trevor would return to Rochester, and that Makenna — entering her ninth month of pregnancy — would join him as originally planned.

But they didn't just have to convince each other that it was a good idea. There were concerned family members to appease. "It has been a process for everyone," Makenna said.

"It's the first grand-baby for both of our parents, who all live in California, and I think everyone wanted us to stay home for that reason," she explained. "I was really nervous about it at first, about leaving that support system."

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The journey itself, riding halfway across the country in Trevor's packed Honda Accord, was the first challenge to consider. The couple set out on the 1,900-mile journey from Riverside, California, on Tuesday morning and arrived in Rochester on Thursday afternoon.

"I was very nervous about the drive out there," Makenna admitted. "But I had my final doctor's appointment on Monday and everything was good. They weren't worried about early labor or complications, or anything like that."

Trevor said now their families are "all on board" with their decision, and they will come to Rochester in waves during July and August, to see the baby.

Doc's in the Honkers' house

Honkers co-owner Dan Litzinger calls it "a blessing" to have the 27-year-old Hairgrove back as manager, and also Demetre Kokoris return for a second year as assistant coach.

Kokoris, 32, also lives in southern California and followed the Hairgrove's here in a two-car convoy.

Hairgrove is the 15th manager in team history, and the first to come back for multiple seasons since Greg Labbe from 2005-'07.

"When Trevor called us with the news (they're expecting), in the back of my mind I thought, okay, now where are we going to find a new guy?" Litzinger said. "But right away, he said, 'No, I made a commitment and I'm still coming back'. That showed a lot of class."

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It helped that the Honkers have a baby doctor in the house for almost every home game. Mayo Clinic obstetrician Kyle Traynor has been the team's official scorekeeper at Mayo Field since 2011.

The Hairgrove's and Traynor became friends last summer, and now he will be Makenna's doctor for the final weeks of her pregancy and the delivery. That connection was key in their decision.

"That was a big deciding factor," Trevor said, "100 percent."

"Kyle is someone I already know and feel comfortable with," Makenna added.

The due date is July 4, and they already know they are having a baseball player: His name will be Magnus Travis Hairgrove.

The Honkers have a road game that day in Waterloo and will likely be under the guidance of Kokoris. Hairgrove will leave the team in his assistant's hands for an undetermined time after the birth.

"I will miss being with the team," Trevor said. "But I think that having my little baby boy in my arms will override that, definitely."

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