If Texas Christian University baseball fans thought it was a nail-biter watching the school compete in the College World Series at home, try being Horned Frogs pitcher Trey Teakell.
Standing in the dugout or in the bullpen, the former Weatherford High School ace said it was just as nerve-wracking for him.
“Probably the thing I do most is bite my fingernails when I’m not pitching,” Teakell admitted. “It’s still fun just watching my teammates; I try not to just sit there. We put in all this work together during the season and even when I’m not pitching, it’s fun to watch those guys go out there and compete.
“I just cheer them on the best I can and become a cheerleader and a fan and I’ve got the best seats in the house.”
Teakell joined the TCU squad in 2011, the year after the Horned Frogs made it to Omaha, Neb., the first time. He said it was obvious to him how that trip motivated his teammates and made him look forward to the trip.
“The way they talked about it...you could tell all the guys who had been to Omaha, all they did as far as baseball, weight lifting and practice, it was motivated by wanting to get back there,” he said. “Once we made it, a couple of my teammates got a hold of me and said the biggest thing you need to do is enjoy the moment...don’t be thinking about what if we don’t make it to the final, what if we go 0-2, whatever happens just go out there and enjoy it and make it one of the best experiences you’ll ever have.”
With that advice, Teakell said being at TD Ameritrade Park was one of the “coolest” experiences of his baseball career.
“It was everything I’d heard about from teammates who went before me; it was everything I thought it would be and more,” he said. “You’re treated like a celebrity out there..I wasn’t ready for it, honestly. It’s definitely the pinnacle of college baseball, it’s just awesome.”
In what ended up being TCU’s final game of the CWS against Mississippi, Teakell made an appearance late in the game. The Horned Frogs trailed by a run and Teakell said he mentally prepared himself for the stage he was about to be on.
“They called down and told me I was going in and at that point, we were down one run and I just told myself I have to keep us here, I have to keep us at one,” he said. “That was what I tried to do but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to.”
Teakell gave up a run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings and Ole Miss eventually won the game 6-4 and eliminated TCU from the tournament but Teakell said that while he was bitter, he had to watch the rest of the series.
“I was bitter but I wanted to know how it ended up,” he confessed. “I know we can play with these teams. [Losing is] a feeling that will hang around but we can compete with any team out there.”
Teakell was also the “tough-luck loser” as the only base runner he allowed in 2 2/3 innings against Virginia scored in TCU's 15-inning loss to the Cavaliers.
Though he didn’t hear from any of his Weatherford coaches or teammates directly, Teakell said the support he received from locals on Facebook after the series ended was encouraging.
Now that the season is behind him, Teakell said he’s taking this summer off from playing baseball and is working on lifting and other mechanics that will hopefully earn him a trip back to Omaha next season.
“I don’t think I can even explain how cool it is..nothing is going to be good enough than to get back to Omaha,” he said. “The rest of the team feels the same way so that’s going to drive us and fuel us....we know how hard it is. It doesn’t happen very often - we had a lot of games where we came out on top where we very easily could’ve lost.”
At Weatherford, Teakell was a two-time letter winner and earned first-team all-district honors as a junior. He was also. honored as a first-team All-Parker County performer following his junior year and was named second-team all-district as a senior.
In his first two seasons at TCU, Teakell had a 3.08 ERA and a 4-2 record. This past season, the junior appeared in a career-high 26 games, making one start. He set personal bests with 61 2/3 innings pitched and 41 strikeouts, led the relief corps with a 6-1 record, posted a 2.34 ERA and was named to the 2014 NCAA Fort Worth All-Regional team.