College baseball: Texas Tech's Ty Harpenau nearly walked away, now playing in Super Regionals
Ty Harpenau was at his wits' end.
He was so far gone, in fact, he told his baseball-coaching dad, Dale, he was done.
Life throws you a few curveballs. Ty Harpenau thought he had swung and missed.
"Last year I didn't play very much," he said. "I told my dad I didn't know if this was fun anymore."
Dale Harpenau talked Ty back into the locker room one more time.
This week, Southside graduate Ty Harpenau was drafted by the Atlanta Braves. For now, the Texas Tech junior isn't sure what road he'll take -- other than the one from his Lubbock apartment to Rip Griffin Field, where his Red Raiders are hosting the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Super Regionals.
Two wins are all that separate the Red Raiders (42-17) from a trip to the College World Series.
Quit? No way.
"I went and played summer ball (2017) and loved it," Harpenau said. "I pitched in two games (last week) at regionals. I'm happy my dad didn't let me give up."
Dale and Cindy Harpenau will be front and center Saturday when the Red Raiders and Blue Devils open their best-of-three series.
"They (parents) come to a lot of games in Lubbock, and some road games, too," Harpenau said.
The Braves called Harpenau late Tuesday to tell him they were picking him.
"I was actually at practice when I got drafted," Harpenau said. "They called me the night before, as soon as the 10th round was over, and told me they were taking me."
Drafted in the 16th round, getting the opportunity to play at the next level is every kid's dream, Harpenau said.
"That's why we play," he said. "That's always your dream as a little kid, for a team to call you and say we're taking you. It's definitely something I've dreamed of all my life."
Harpenau has posted a 6-2 record with a 3.47 ERA in 49 1/3 innings. The right-hander has appeared in 23 games, holding opponents to a .198 batting average.
The Red Raiders opened the 2018 season by winning their first 14 games.
And, when the team started losing key pieces to injuries, Texas Tech adopted the "next man up" mentality."
"We started off really hot," Harpenau said. "At the beginning of the year, we lost Steven Gingery, who went in the fourth round of the draft (St. Louis). And we lost some other guys, too. To be where we are, it's a credit to the coaches (Tim Tadlock) for bringing guys in who were ready to play. A lot of us have had a good year. we know how to play this game.
"It's what you work for and play all spring for -- you can't draw it up any better."
Harpenau appeared in just 10 games as a Tech sophomore, allowing 15 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings.
This article is written by Kevin Taylor from Times Record, Fort Smith, Ark. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.