Out of baseball for 18 months, Houston native Kevin Williams was just looking for a chance.
"Kevin ran me down in the parking lot and said 'Coach I'm a left handed pitcher and I throw 90 miles per hour.'" said TJC head baseball coach Doug Wren. "I kind of laughed and said 'Okay well come out the next couple of days and let's see what you've got.' He came in, threw the bullpen and was 88 miles per hour six pitches in a row."
Wren had seen enough. Williams was an Apache.
Excited just to make the team, the 21 year old freshman didn't realize he was adding to a family legacy at historic Mike Carter Field.
"It turns out my grandpa actually played here at Mike Carter back in the 50's when it was the Texas League field," said Williams. "He won the championship. It's a cool thing right now being able to come out here everyday in the same place my grandpa was."
Dean Stafford was the Tyler East Texans top home run hitter in 1952 and 1953. 60 years later, his grandson will take the mound in the same ballpark.
"He used to always tell me about these brick walls out here behind the field," said Williams. "How people would try to jump over it. That was the way to get in the game back in the day, was jumping the fence instead of paying ten cents a ticket.
Times have definitely changed. Williams hopes one thing can remain the same.
"He won a championship here sixty years ago," said Williams. "Hopefully keep it going, maybe get a ring on my finger this year. Keep the legacy going. Who knows, maybe I'll have a kid playing out here one day."
Williams will wear number 18 for the Apaches. The same number his late grandfather wore for playing at Mike Carter Field.
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