Keaton Hernandez has a pretty simple philosophy about life.
"My life is just a chill life with many blessings," said the Weatherford College sophomore pitcher. "I just live for the Lord every day and listen for where he wants me to go."
And while he has bounced around some, it has been a nice journey for the most part.
He was the starting quarterback for four years at Desert Chapel High School in Palm Springs, Calif., graduating in 2010.
But as good as he was at throwing a football, he felt his future lay in pitching a baseball. That led him to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
The Golden Norsemen were one of the top teams in the nation, climbing to as high as seventh in the national rankings. Hernandez was MVP of the region, and second-team All-American as a freshman, posting an 11-0 record.
He was hoping that would lead to a transfer to perennial power Dallas Baptist University. When that didn’t happen, however, he set his sights in an entirely different direction.
"I was about to move to New Zealand to start my missionary career with my brother," he said.
Those plans changed when he received a call from Weatherford College assistant coach Flint Wallace. So he came to WC to play in what is arguably the toughest junior college conference in the nation.
"To face competition (every week) like we have is the most fun," Hernandez said. "This conference has men that will reach the big leagues. To pitch against them and prove myself is a great challenge.
"I’m just thankful that the Lord gave me the opportunity to even throw again."
Hernandez said he immediately felt at home at WC.
"These guys (the Coyotes) are a band of brothers, and I don’t want to let them down," he said. "I’m going to compete every day for these guys.
"I didn’t really have any big adjustments to make. As soon as I got here these guys and coaches were open-armed and made me feel comfortable."
Hernandez, who plans to transfer to the University of Oklahoma next season, credits numerous family members for his inspiration.
"My mom is a single mom who raised three kids. She’s great and I love her so much," he said. "My dad is a man who works hard to make things right that were wrong. My brothers and sisters. My adoptive family that took me in and cares for me still. They are a great, strong, Christian family that has blessed me every day. I love them all."
And while he does love baseball, there is something he values just as much, if not more.
"I love to go hear my grandpa preach Sundays," he said. "To just be a part of my family’s lives is the best."
He does want to play baseball for a living, but he said, "I’m putting my life in the Lord’s hands and let Him take it from there."
Coyote baseball splits with Cisco Saturday, crucial series remains
After taking three out of four from Cisco College last week, the Weatherford College baseball team heads into a critical final series against McLennan with a Region V Tournament berth on the line.
WC (29-22 overall, 14-14 in conference play) is tied with McLennan for the fourth and final playoff spot out of the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference. If the Coyotes can get three wins in their last four games, they will ensure themselves a berth in the Region V Tournament in Lubbock.
In game one of Saturday’s doubleheader at Roger Williams Ballpark, WC jumped all over Cisco in a 10-0 win. Andrew Hendel pitched a shutout, striking out four and giving up five hits in six innings. Colton Turner racked up three RBIs on four hits. WC did most of its damage in a three-run second inning and a four-run sixth.
WC lost game two 10-8. The two teams combined for 33 hits and six errors in a wild end to the four-game series. The Coyotes scored seven runs in the bottom of the ninth to make it close in the loss. Weatherford’s Scotland Church had two RBIs on three hits, going 3-for-5.
The Coyotes’ final home date will be Wednesday against McLennan, and the regular season ends Saturday in Waco. Both doubleheaders will begin at 1 p.m.