It was a running joke Grapevine starting pitcher Zach Kornely heard time and time again throughout the 2013 spring baseball season.“Don’t forget your jersey,” teammates and coaches told the Mustangs’ hard-throwing righty.Each time he heard the playful reminder before a start, Kornely smiled and brushed it off. With a 0.71 ERA and a 9-1 record last season, it was easy for the senior to laugh about it. After all, he and then-junior Cooper Hess spearheaded a Grapevine pitching staff that helped the team to a school-record 27 wins and their first outright district championship since 1993. But there was a time during Kornely’s junior season when “don’t forget your jersey” wouldn’t have been a laughing matter.As a junior, Kornely was Grapevine’s No. 3 starter. Slated to make his third varsity start against L.D. Bell, Kornely felt ready to seize the moment against the district foe. There was only one problem: he forgot his jersey. Without enough time to back track to Grapevine High School and retrieve the jersey, Mustangs coach Tim McCune had no choice but to send Hess to the mound. Despite the unexpected, jersey-less start, Hess dominated, pitching a complete game shut-out.“I never touched the field after that,” Kornely said. Patiently, Kornely waited for another opportunity to start, another opportunity to showcase the fastball that could blow hitters away and the changeup that could keep them off balance. That opportunity finally arrived in Kornely’s senior year against Flower Mound, one of the top-ranked teams in the state. Kornely was expected to start but because of an incoming storm, but McCune didn’t want the right-hander to sit for an hour mid-game while the rain passed, so he returned to the bullpen. “We’re just going to pitch you after the storm comes,” McCune told Kornely.But after three innings, there were no signs of the storm. Flower Mound had dominated up to that point, and was leading 5-0 when Kornely finally entered the game in the fourth. Unfazed, Kornely threw three innings of shutout ball and struck out four Flower Mound hitters. Grapevine lost the game, but won the final three innings 2-0. At that moment, Kornely gained the confidence he needed to become one of the top high school pitchers in North Texas. He was no longer the player who forgot his jersey. “That’s when I thought, ‘Flower Mound’s a really good team,’” Kornely said. “If I could’ve started that game we could’ve beaten one of the best teams in the state.” This spring, Grapevine advanced to the regional quarterfinals. They defeated Hebron and Mansfield but were turned back by Marcus in the third round playoff series. After the season concluded, Kornely was invited to pitch in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star game in Round Rock, where he allowed one run in two innings. Next fall, Kornely will play junior college baseball at McLennan Community College in Waco. He hopes to pitch for Baylor in two years’ time. One year ago, a future in college baseball sounded like a joke to Kornely. However, a lot has changed in a year, and “don’t forget your jersey” is now the joke.