Blake Waldrep will walk across the stage to receive his diploma Friday night, but it will not bring an end to his high-school baseball career.
The Bulls’ right hander will pitch in the Greater West Texas Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game June 6 in Lubbock.
“It’s a pretty cool honor,” Waldrep said. “There was only one other guy in our district chosen.”
The game will be Waldrep’s first action since the Bulls were eliminated from the Class 3A Region I playoffs by Burnet May 15. He earned Bridgeport’s lone win in the area-round series.
Before the all-star game, Waldrep will join other Class 3A and 4A Region I players in performing for local college scouts June 5.
“It’s a chance to work out for scouts and try to get recruited,” he said.
Waldrep, who is also planning to attend a tryout for North Central Texas College at Gainesville later in June, wants an opportunity to pitch at the next level.
“I like to play baseball, and it’ll give me something to do while in college,” he said.
Bridgeport coach Ted Leps believes his staff ace will get that opportunity after a strong season. Waldrep went 4-3 with a 1.47 ERA. He struck out 72 and walked 28. Waldrep also hit .462 with 24 RBIs on 37 hits.
“He did a real good job and improved every outing,” Leps said. “His record was not indicative of how he pitched. He kept us in a lot of tight games that we won late. He had multiple games of double-digit strikeouts.”
Waldrep said he pitched with more confidence this season and had better control.
“It was a good year,” he said. “Last year, I was not very accurate. This year, I got my curveball to work better and in for strikes.”
Throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters was a strength for Waldrep throughout the season.
“Every game we set goals, and one was getting ahead of hitters,” Leps said. “One game, he threw 16 first-pitch strikes.”
In his final game against Burnet, Waldrep allowed just one earned run on two hits. He struck out nine and walked two.
“I was mixing the ball up and threw a lot more curveballs,” Waldrep said.
Leps said it was his best outing of the year.
That complete-game victory capped a senior year in which Waldrep also helped the Bulls football team to the fourth round of the playoffs. The hard-hitting linebacker was named District 5-3A’s Co-Defensive MVP.
“It could have been better, but I’m happy how it went,” Waldrep said about his senior year.
He was contacted by a few schools about playing football, but he did not pursue them. Waldrep just wants to play baseball and get back to the mound as soon as possible.
“I’m excited about playing,” Waldrep said. “I’m already missing baseball.”