Full circle moment for Raiders coach at UIL state baseball tournament
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Randall Raiders baseball team is headed to the UIL state tournament for the first time since 2007.
The Raiders snapped the 16-year drought after a comeback regional final series win over Stephenville last Friday.
This years state tournament run will be a full circle moment for one member of Randall’s coaching staff.
Brad Propst was a player on the 2007 squad who made it to the state semifinals. Now, 16 years later, he has the opportunity to help coach the Raiders back to Austin.
“It’s incredible,” Coach Propst said when asked what this full circle moment means to him. “After that regional final game, they brought out that trophy and I kind of just disappeared into the dugout and I tried to soak it all in. As a player, you’re kind of caught up in it and you’re working day to day, but sometimes it’s good to take that step back and just absorb everything that’s going on.”
When Coach Propst made the trip to the state tournament as a player, the Raiders faced a tough Corpus Christi Moody team in the first round and Randall ultimately ended up losing 5-2.
Propst started at shortstop, but got the chance to come in as relief in the first inning after Randall fell behind 4-0. When he got the chance to toe the rubber at Dell Diamond Stadium, Propst only gave up one run on three hits with four strikeouts while pitching the rest of the game
Having the chance to play on that big of a stage and in that environment can definitely be a nerve-racking experience for any high school athlete. After going through that once himself, Propst has good insight on what the Raiders can expect.
“It was strange for our game. The semifinal game before us, I can’t remember if it was a weather delay or went into extra innings, but we had to wait probably an hour and a half after the time our game was supposed to start. I think that kind of helped us just being in the stadium for that long and getting used to the atmosphere, but once the first pitch is thrown it’s the same game since you have played since you were a kid,” Coach Propst said. “So once the first pitch is thrown, I think those guys will be in the zone and pretty much tune everything else out.”
From wearing Raiders across his chest as a player to now as a coach, this is Propst’s first year being part of the staff. He joined the team this spring semester after a being stay at home dad during the fall. Propst says that he was loosing his mind being away from the game of baseball. That’s a typical thought for someone who also played college ball at Oklahoma State University and later went on to play in the Houston Astros organization.
Being back on the field at Randall High School, this time in a new way, Coach Propst saw the potential in this year’s group early on.
“Their work ethic is incredible,” Coach Propst said. “We have to kick a lot of those guys out of the facility. I think that is part of why they are so good, because they are constantly working at their craft. They are out their hitting or getting in the bullpen, or trying to lift weights. That is just one thing that makes these guys so special, they are willing to put the work in and try to get better every single day.”
Being part of the staff to help lead and guide the Raiders back to the state tournament has been a rewarding experience for him.
“It’s been awesome. Here lately it has almost just been you like you sit back and enjoy the show. The hay has already been put in the barn, and you get to enjoy the show pretty much,” Coach Propst said.
The show continues for the Raiders on Wednesday, June 7th as they play Texarkana Liberty-Eylau in the 4A state semifinals at 1:00 p.m. at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
“My message is going to be, it’s the same game you’ve played since you were a little kid,” Coach Propst said when asked what he is going to say to the team before Wednesday. “It’s just going to be in a bigger atmosphere, bigger venue, but soak up every single second of it because it goes quick. You will be looking back and you’ll remember all the good times that you’ve had.”
We will have full coverage of Randall’s state tournament run on NewsChannel 10.
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