Even with just one season of varsity baseball under his belt, sophomore Daniel Cole has already pitched plenty of big district games for Harker Heights.
But this summer, Cole has been playing in big games from San Marcos to San Antonio and, last week, Fort Myers, Fla., as part of the Austin Banditos 15U travel team.
Cole pitched against the North Georgia Hurricanes at the Perfect Game 15U BCS Finals, where he earned all-tournament honors after winning his only pitching appearance.
“That was like the highlight of our summer really because we always have one of those big tournaments where we either go play at a big college or we go out of state,” Cole said.
Cole can remember pitching in an international tournament at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida when he was younger.
His team won that tournament, and Cole was successful in his latest trip to Florida as well.
In fact, Cole displayed the same poise he displayed in District 8-5A last season when his team fell behind 2-0 in the first inning.
“We had to just come out, shake the cobwebs off,” Cole said, referring to the two-weeks his team had off before the tournament. “So, we came out and then after that we started doing pretty good.
“We ended up winning the game 3-2.”
Cole allowed just six hits in seven innings that game while striking out 10.
And while Cole said that playing in games like that are always a fun experience, he said the big district games are just as fun.
“They’re fun in different ways,” Cole said. “Playing out of state at those tournaments, it’s fun, you get to hang out with your friends and you get to play a lot of games.
“But one of the good things about district games is it’s one big event — you have one game at one time, and everybody knows about it, your whole school knows about it, and it’s just a big deal.”
Cole isn’t done traveling this summer as his team will play in San Marcos this weekend.
But in the meantime, Cole is working on his game and not just as a pitcher.
With starting shortstop Caleb Dean off to Hill College, Cole is doing his best to make an able replacement when he isn’t on the mound.
Of course, Cole is also still working on his pitching, just as he did against the North Georgia Hurricanes.
“This year, I have a really good chance to be playing shortstop, so I’ve been working hard trying to improve there,” Cole said.
“And I’ve also been trying to improve my pitches basically from all things from trying to make my arm stronger, trying to hit my spots better and I’ve just been working at minor things that can make me a better player.”