By Rick Mauch
Baseball has been a big part of the Reynolds family for a long time.
Terry Reynolds was a standout player for Weatherford High School before graduating in 1986. So too, was his son Trace a few years ago, going on to play at Howard College.
Now, Trace’s younger brother, Trooper, has hopes of taking the family tradition to a place it’s never been — the professional ranks.
Trooper, a freshman third baseman for Weatherford College, makes his goals quite plain. He wants to play professionally, which is one of two reasons he chose to play at WC. The other reason being his familiarity with the home town Coyotes.
And since he loves Weatherford, playing college baseball in a good program in the place he most adores just made sense.
“I wanted to go to a program where I feel comfortable. Plus, I want to see if I can set myself for the (Major League Baseball) Draft,” Trooper said. “I’ve talked to several scouts.”
Trooper is off to a very strong start in his college career. It’s no surprise scouts are giving him good looks.
They were already looking at him even before he opted to play in college, instead of entering the draft right out of high school. Trooper was a two-time Class 5A All-State selection as a Weatherford Kangaroo and was a high school All-American last season as a senior.
Trooper received offers to play at major college programs, as well, including the likes of TCU, Baylor and Dallas Baptist University — all top-notch programs with winning reputations. But baseball is treated differently from other NCAA sports. If a student-athlete commits to a NCAA Division I school, he must stay at least three years.
For this reason, players with the talent such as Trooper often play for two-year colleges, where they can test themselves in the draft after only one season.
Trooper said coming from one of the area’s elite programs at WHS helped prepare him for college.
“Coming out of WHS, it’s almost like you’re a step ahead of other high school programs,” he said. “But I feel like it all starts way back in the Little League program. They have a great program, and everybody wants to be a Kangaroo.”
At Weatherford High, Trooper started developing his dream.
“I remember watching my older brother (Trace) play at the Little League fields, and it got me to loving the game,” he said.
Another reason Trooper believes he has a chance at getting drafted is the fact that he is playing for the Coyotes, and doing well as a freshman. He said Coach Jeff Lightfoot simply does not play guys who have not earned the privilege.
“What I like most about Coach Lightfoot is he doesn’t beat around the bush. If you can’t play, he’ll tell you, just like that,” said Trooper.
But Trooper is playing, and he hopes to be playing for a long time. If he doesn’t go pro after this season he will likely return to WC, and just get even better.
“Once you get to college, everybody knows the game,” he said. “It’s everyone who was the best at their high school, so the more you play against these people, the only thing you can do is get better.”
He’d also like to be a part of WC history in helping the Coyotes reach the elusive NJCAA Division I World Series.
“It comes down to getting hot at the right time, and peaking at the right time,” he said. “It’s going to happen here, this is too good a program for it to not happen. I think it could even be this season. We just need for things to break for us and be playing our best ball at the right time.”
Sort of like what it takes to make it in the pros, consistently trudge forward, always be ready for the right moment, and seize the opportunity when it arrives.
“Playing in the pros has been a dream of mine forever,” Trooper said. “I have had a great time playing baseball for all these years, and I want to carry it on.”