Blumberg Off the Bench
The Miami Hurricanes Blake Tekotte heard plenty of cheers this weekend at Taylor Stadium. The last time Tekotte played at Taylor Stadium, he hoisted a state championship trophy into the air.
"I remember that double that he hit in the state championship game that one-hopped the wall," says Hickman baseball coach Dave Wilson. "I tell you what I remember the most is the look in his eyes after the game."
"Probably seeing Andrew Mueller throw a curveball and strike him out and me running in and jumping on the dogpile," says Tekotte of one about his favorite memories. "It's always good to come back and remember that moment and that was a pretty big moment in my sports career."
A career that took Tekotte out of state. Despite growing up a Tiger fan, he picked the Hurricanes after high school.
"You know, growing up as a kid he always went to the Tiger ballcamps and has great respect for the Tiger coaching staff," says Tekotte's mom, Cheryl. "Coach Jamieson, Coach Pratt and Vitello. Cindy Jamieson was his elementary school P.E. teacher."
"Just grown up always wanting to play at the top college baseball level and Miami is up there," says Tekotte. "So, just too hard of an opportunity for me to pass up to go down there and play baseball."
The move paid off in his freshman season. It gave him a trip to the College World Series. And now he's the team leader, a centerfielder, and the center of attention in his return home.
"I knew if i was going to watch him again it was going to cost me a lot of money to go down there," says Coach Wilson.
"I never dreamed that he'd be back here," says Cheryl. "I had hoped that they would not have met at this level. I had hoped for the World Series level."
The Tekotte's are still close with the Missouri baseball team. When Mizzou slugger Jacob Priday's family comes to Columbia for a weekend series, they stay at the Tekotte's house.
"Real good family friends and this is staying there the 3rd year going," says Priday. "It's an ironic deal, but it's alright."
"Just grew to be really good friends and his parents stay up here all the time at my house," says Tekotte. "It's pretty cool. When the selection show was on, he texted me 'Coming Home' dot, dot, dot."
Tekotte teed off in his return home, hitting a home run on Saturday, which was only his 3rd all season.
"I'm going to root that both teams play well," says Coach Wilson. "It's best of both worlds for a coach because whatever team goes on in the tournament you're happy for."
From Hickman to the Hurricanes, his high school coach thinks his path could take him to pros.
"To get that far it's going to take some breaks here or there, but it won't come from lack of drive," says Wilson. "But if he makes it that far he would be a good major leaguer out there."
Tekotte isn't the only member of the Hickman 2005 State Championship team on teams in the NCAA post-season. Andrew Mueller is a pitcher at Mizzou, and Nick Steponovich is the back-up catcher at Ohio State.