Harker Heights Herald
Claim to fame: The senior is Harker Heights’ everyday catcher and cleanup hitter, and got the Knights on the board first Tuesday when he plated two runs despite not getting a hit. Keller reached base twice courtesy of Shoemaker errors, the first of which rolled under the glove of Shoemaker third baseman Roberto Delgado for two runs in the bottom of the first in a 4-0 win Tuesday night.
What went right on that first-inning two-RBI error Tuesday night?
“I just went in there and got into a fastball-count and was sitting on one pitch and when I got it, I took a rip at it.”
As the team’s starting catcher, how do you see your role behind the plate?
“I just have to try my hardest to keep (the pitchers) in a good mood, and when something’s wrong I have to take charge, make them feel comfortable on the mound, I have to keep their heads up whenever something isn’t going right for them on that day.”
What is your personality as it relates to the team this year?
“I work hard, but I like to have fun while working. Especially with other guys on the team because everybody’s happy-go-lucky, everybody’s always in a good mood. No matter how bad a day it is, when we all get together, it’s like a whole new day.”
Baseball is known for having unique clubhouse personalities, practical jokesters if you will, do you take it to that level of fun?
“Yeah, I’d say it’s either me or Caleb (Dean), we’re probably the two jokesters on the team.”
Do you have any examples of jokes you pulled on other teammates?
“One time when Cody Plagens was getting interviewed and me and Caleb were standing behind the interviewer just making faces and making him laugh. And when the interviewer would turn around, we’d look away like we weren’t there. That was pretty funny.”
Yeah, I remember that.
Anybody ever turn the jokes on you?
“I’m a red head and I’m also half Mexican, so I kind of get a lot of jokes (about that) and whatnot, but I like to joke around, too. Everyone jokes because I’m one of the few redheaded Mexicans they’ve seen.”
Baseball players are known for their pregame eccentricities as well, do you have any rituals yourself?
“Going into the Killeen game I had a blister on my foot so I wore two socks on my left foot, and ever since that game I’ve worn two socks on my left foot every game and we’ve won three straight.”
So you’re a little superstitious?
“Yeah. If there’s a black cat on my path, I’ll walk all the way around. I don’t split poles, I don’t walk under ladders.”
What do you like to do when you’re not on the field or at school?
“I like to work on cars.”
“When I was younger my brother always worked on his cars, like Hondas, little cars, and making them faster than the big cars, V-8s. And as soon as I got my license I got into it and started building cars.”
What’s an example of a car you built?
“I’m about to finish it, ... because I built it pretty much from scratch, everything was disassembled and I just put everything back together. ... It’s a 1999 GSR (Honda) Integra. ... The motor was completely taken apart and I added some after-market cams, pistons, beams that crank, and then put everything back together.”
Do you show off your finished work?
“I like showing off the guys with the big V-8s with my little 4-banger.”
So you race it?
“I do at the track ... at Little River-Academy, their drag strip.”
Contact Alex Byington at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7566