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Section B ACC IN THE SPRING ACC Hays campus to open in the spring of 2014. - Page 3B HaysFreePress.com July 17, 2013 * Page 1B / PHOTO BY APRIL PENNEY Lehman Lobos senior pitcher Justin Penney delivers a pitch for the Line Drive Academy Diamond Dawgs select baseball team. BY MOSES LEOS III pointing. Our district was allowed me to prepare myself Penney said. "He does a great will help provide the basis for tough, as all four playoff teams for the upcoming baseball sea- job of not only getting his play- a Lobo resurgence. Along with moses@haysfreepress.com [made deep runs]," Penney son." ers ready to play ball, but [he] the sweep of Hays, Penney be- said. "However, we expect to Penney believes he gained also helps them become better lieves defeating Alamo Heights Two years ago, Lehman High compete. We expect to make a vast amount of experience individuals as well." 2-0 on the road late last season senior pitcher Justin Penney the postseason." competing with his select Select ball gave Penney a may be the catalyst the team wasapartofagroundbreaking With one year left at Leh- league, which plays in wood glimpse into looking beyond needs. era in Lobo athletic history, man, Penney hopes to help the and aluminum bat tourna- high school. "Defeating Alamo Heights Only a freshman at the time, Lobos reach the playoffs once ments. He hopes the knowl- "Texas A&M Corpus Christi for the first time ever was an Penney was a part of the 2011 again. He aims to improve his edge learned from select ball has been a top college of mine. enjoyable moment," Penney Lobo squad that completed skills by competing against the translates to the high school A few of my teammates have said."We hope this provides an back-to-back postseason ap- best baseball players over the medium, attended the school." Penney incentive for us to work hard- pearances by reaching the bi- summer months. "I have learned how to ap- said. "] have talked with the er." district round. For the past couple of sum- proach batters differently, de- [A&M Corpus Christi] coaches; Penney, who was named Despite falling to Brenham, mars, Penney crisscrossed the pending on the bat type," Pen- they made me feel as if it was second team all-district, wish- the experience of a playoff state, competing for the Line nay said. "Against aluminum not only an ideal place to play, es to finish next season on the game was enriching for the Lo- Drive Academy select baseball bats, I try not to jam hitters [on but also a great place to get a first team all-district list, along bos pitcher, team out of Buda. the inside part of the plate] as good education." with first team all Can-Tax The Lobos, coming off a Traveling from Dallas, to much.Withawoodbat, thebat However, with the select sea- honors. two-yearplayoffdryspellsince Houston and as far away as breaks, and allows for an easy son winding down, Penney's However, making it back to the bi-district round, saw the Corpus Christi, Penney honed out. Not so with aluminum." immediate focus is on the start the playoffs will greatly trump problem exacerbated in 2013 his skills on the diamond with He owes much of his pro- of off-season workouts for the personal goals. when the Lobos fell short of ex- the Diamond Dawgs. gression on the field to LDA Lobos baseball team. "We just want to get back to pectations, finishing 14-15, 6-8 "Playing for the Line Drive head coach, Clay Jessee. Despite the struggles the the playoffs," he said. "We want in district play. Academy has been a great ex- "I have known [Clay] Jessee squad had in 2013, Penney togetback, and get beyond the "Last season was disap- perience," Penney said. "It has since I started high school," realized how a few moments first round." Former Hays pitcher plays for Kansas City Royals BY MOSES LEOS III moses@haysfreepress.com "t is a dream many aspire to. It's the inspiration of mov- .ies, books, songs and televi- sion shows. Few have experienced the thrill of reaching what is sim- ply known as "The Show" - baseball's pinnacle: the Major League. ....... On July 10, former Hays High pitcher Donnie Joseph saw his childhood dream come true when he took a call that changed his life. While on the road in Mem- phis with the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, the left-handed pitcher got a call from his agent with the news. Ironically, the biggest moment in the southpaw's career went to voicemail three times. "I was asleep when I got the call," Joseph said. "I did not have my agent's name listed with his number on my phone, so I didn't answer. The phone buzzed two more times before I realized, 'this must be impor- tant.'" Sure enough, his agent told him the earth shattering news. "He told me, 'Congratula- tions, you've done a great job. You're flying to NewYork to join [the Royals] tonight.'" Before Joseph knew it, he was on a red-eye flight bound for New York City, where the Royals were playing the last of a three game series with the famedYankees. The whirlwind moment was a culmination of a well-trav- elled journey. After a stellar four-year base- ball career at Hays under Coach Doug Ragsdale, Joseph spent three years with the University of Houston baseball team, fur- ther honing his skills. In 2009, Joseph entered the Major League Baseball draft. He went in the third round (No. 88 overall) to the Cincinnati Reds. He played rookie ball in Billings, MT. After a few weeks in Billings, he was promoted to Low-A Dayton, Ohio for half a year, before moving up to the high-A PHOTO BY CLAYTON JONES Former Hays High pitcher DonNe Joseph and his family got to see his name in lights at Yankee Stadium July 10 when he made his professional debut with the Kansas City Royals in a series against the Yankees. team in Lynchburg, TN. 2010 and 2011 saw Joseph play Double-A ball in North Carolina. He believes those years, especially 2011, where he went 1-3 with a career high 6.34 earned run average, were formative for him. "2011 was a rough year for me; I strug- gled quite a bit," he said. "Yet, it was also the best year I had as a baseball player, based on how much I learned. It was a big learning experi- ence. I got better as a pitcher." 2012 saw Joseph post his best year in JOSEPH the minors. He went 9-3 with a 2.33 ERA and 87 strikeouts. Joseph continued in Double-A, playing in Pen- sacola, FL for a half year, before moving up to Triple-A Louis- villa, k%. Last June, Joseph was traded to the Royals organiza- tion, where he has been playing for the Storm Chasers. Joseph believes his ascen- time finally said. He arrived in New York around midnight and was shuttled to the team hotel. He attempted to get a few hours sleep. But his excitement, and a 7 a.m. wake up call, kept him from getting his forty winks. sion up the minor The lack of sleep did not deter league ladder has him. been a smooth one. "I honestly was not tired," lo- "l think the timingseph said. of getting called up Joseph and the team were wasjustaboutright,"bussed to Yankees Stadium, he said. "It was not where he was immediately too quick, but I was enveloped in the history and not stuck in the mi- grandeur of the locale. nots for too long.""The bus pulled up to the Getting the nod to front of Yankee Stadium, where the bigs helped Jo-I saw not only the marquee, but seph look back at his the famous statutes of famous accomplishments, players as well," he said. "To be "I knew all of the in such a historic place, where and work I have invested many of the greats have played, had paid off," Joseph it was one of the best feelings I have ever had." As a left-hander, Joseph was seen as an asset to the organi- zation, as he is able to keep bat- ters off-balance with a strong breaking ball. When right- banded relief pitcher Wade Davis went on paternity leave with his wife, the Royals saw the chance to add another lefty reliever to the lineup. In the seventh inning, the Royals made a call to the bull- pen: they wanted Joseph 6n the mound. He was about to make his MLB debut, in of all places, Yankee Stadium, the Valhalla of the baseball world. "The moment did not hit me until I stepped on the warn- ing track," Joseph said. "That's when it hit me. I was in Yankee Stadium, in front of over 40,000 fans. I tried to soak it all in." Once he stepped foot on the mound, the awestruck 25-year old immediately regained his focus. In his first ever MLB outing, Joseph went a third of an in- ning, walking one, allowing one hit and recording an out. Two of the batters he faced off against were All-Star right fielder Vernon Wells and first baseman Lyle Overbay. He tried his best to let go of who exactly he was pitching against. "I tried my best to slow the game down," Joseph said. "I didn't think, 'wow, I'm pitch- ing against Vernon Wells or Lyte Overbay.' I focused on the catcher's mitt and not the name on the jersey." Despite Joseph's efforts, the Royals fell 8-4. After the game, Joseph was introduced into the lavish lifestyle of the Major Leaguer. The team headed to Cleve- land for a three game stint against the Indians. Joseph flew on a chartered flight - no bus or commercial airline coach this time. From a separate se- curity checkpoint for the team to a three-course meal on a spacious airplane, he was over- whelmed. "There is no comparison be- tween traveling with a major and minor league ball club," he said. "The lifestyle of a pro baseball player is very different REBEL TO ROYALS, 2B BY MOSES LEOS III moses@haysfreepress.com Of all of the social ale- meres within the human construct, sports may be the most polarizing - bring- ing fans together and break- ing them apart at alarming speed. More and more cases of anger-related violence have spilled onto the field in re- cent years. In Brazil a refer- ee-player face-to-face spat over a bad call ended in two deaths. According to the As- sociated Press, referee Ota- vio da Silva ejected player Josenir Abmu from a soccer match; he objected and be- gan a fistfight with da Silva. The referee stabbed the player, who later died. Abreu's fans rushed the field, mobbing da Silva, stoning him to death and decapitat- ing him. But, it's not just overseas. Take the case of referee Rich- ard Portillo. In April, during a Salt Lake City recreational league soc- cer match, a 17-year-old player punched Portillo in the head over a foul. Portillo was in a coma for a week be- fore dying May 4. And, it's not just soccer. Consider the much-pub- licized Sarasota football brawl in 2011, where players and coaches attacked ref- eree Jayme Ream during a game. The incident, caught on camera, was highlighted recently by the HBO docu- mentary "Real Sports" with Bryant Gumbel. Ream suf- fered multiple injuries, in- cluding a fractured shoulder from the attack. 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