LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Despite not playing a competitive game for two years, Austin Requena is living his dream of playing professional baseball.
It may not be the way he wanted. Most children dream of succeeding on the field and getting drafted in the MLB draft. Requena has found his start in the Pecos League with the White Sands Pupfish based in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
“Right now it is just battling the weather and going out and pitching every day,” Requena said.
When Requena graduated from Lufkin High School he thought he would just take a year off from baseball.
“I still had that urge in me," Requena said. “it wouldn’t go away.”
After a year off Requena looked to get back into baseball.
“I had a tryout at Angelina College and was given a roster spot,” Requena said. “I did the fall semester of classes but then I had some stuff come up and I ended up moving out to Dallas.”
In that time Requena never stopped working out. A pitcher, Requena would make sure his upper core and arm strength were still where he wanted it to be. He would work with young athletes and find time for daily work outs.
“I came across this tryout about three weeks ago and came out to it,” Requena said. “I ended up making the team and here I am in New Mexico.”
The Pupfish are an independent organization with no affiliation to a Major League Team. According to the team roster, no one on the current team has had any experience with an affiliated team.
“It’s going to be a grind,” Requena said. “We have games almost every day. it is just going to be a process.”
‘Trust the process’ is a phrase tossed around a lot in sports. It is not a phrase Requena takes lightly.
“It is a hard path to the majors,” Requena said. “It comes easier for some and then some have to work harder. I am going the independent route. I am not as big as everyone. I am not as tall as everyone that you see on TV and stuff like that. It is all about having that drive to go out there and tell yourself you are the best one out there.”