Daniel Cole has had an immediate impact for the Knights in his freshman season. On Tuesday, he retired 19 straight batters to help Harker Heights rally for a 5-1 win against Killeen. But playing, and excelling, against older competition is nothing new to Cole. Cole continues to try to make himself and the Knights better.
How long have you been playing baseball?
I’ve been playing baseball since I was about 5. Started tee ball around there. But I started playing travel ball when I was 8. I played with a 10-(and under) team. And from 8 all the way to, I want to say 12, I’ve always played up because my dad has pushed me to be the best and try to compete with older people and try to challenge myself. I never want it to be too easy. I want to be able to work hard for something.
So this is nothing new for you?
Honestly, every team we’ve played I’ve played with most of my friends. We’re up there smiling, having a good time. I know just about everybody on every team because I’ve played with them. I’ve experienced the game with just about every team.
I hear you played football also. What position?
I played quarterback last year. This year, they’re going to be moving me around (between) quarterback, receiver.
What’s this time of year like balancing football workouts with baseball?
It takes a lot of commitment, going from football during school, doing my work, then going to baseball after school. It’s tough. I knew at the beginning of the season it was going to take a lot of commitment, so I’ve just been trying to stay with it. I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people. They’ve helped me out with a lot of things. I’ve been doing pretty good so far.
Head coach Glenn Cunningham mentioned you before baseball season began, but did you think you would have this kind of impact in your first year?
I knew I was going to be a big key to the team because I knew coming in that I could hit and I could throw. But I knew it was going to be a challenge. I started off rough at the beginning of the season. And it was tough, but all the upperclassmen helped me out with it, told me keep my head up, I’ve still got a lot more season left. They helped me out through all of it, and I’m hitting my good spot right now.
Where do you feel like you can still improve?
Doing small things like coming in, walking less people and try to do more things for the team. I’ve hit two home runs this season, and people ask me, “So, are you looking for a home run?” No, I’m just looking to get on base for people to drive me in.