Brendan Paul figures that before last weekend he had hit three home runs throughout his baseball career.
“They were really spread out, too,” the Rocky Mountain High School senior said with a chuckle.
Paul’s is the story of the kind of the fairy-tale weekend everyone wants to happen to someone like him. He’s is the kid who works himself into the ground, doing anything and everything he can to contribute.
He’s not a guaranteed starter for the Lobos on the diamond. In fact, he only had 19 official at-bats this season entering district play. On a talented team, he has to scrap for every appearance. But he doesn’t sulk or moan. He wants to play more, but more than that, he wants the team to succeed.
“There’s so much competition on this team, but I would rather play on a team and not get as many starts as I want but be on a winning team,” Paul said.
His mentality is what made last Saturday special.
The Lobos were the No. 17 (of 32) seed entering a district hosted by No. 1 overall seed Pine Creek. In the first game against No. 16 Fruita Monument, Paul hit his first varsity home run after entering as a pinch hitter in the 7-1 victory.
Then came the district title game against Pine Creek, with a spot in the eight-team state tournament going to the winner.
Coach Scott Bullock gave Paul the start because of how strong he had been on defense.
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Paul played exceptional defense against Pine Creek, but he also went 4-4 with a double, two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored in a 9-7 win. The light-hitting kid who got the start because of his defense doubled his season’s RBI total in one day.
“Brendan is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached,” Bullock said. “There’s no one more deserving of having a day like that than Brendan. For me it was exciting, it was fun.”
Paul knows the whole thing is wild. He says he would have called you crazy if you had told him in advance what was coming.
Now the Lobos move on. They play Mullen at 10 a.m. Friday at All-City Field in Denver in the first game of the double-elimination tournament.
Rocky Mountain is a five-time state champion, the last coming in 2014. Despite the impressive resume, this is the first time the Lobos have advanced out of a district tournament they didn’t host.
The kid who is a coach’s dream helps prove it takes every man to make a run at a title.
“It was unreal. I was just so happy for my team and my coaches that we got through districts,” Paul said. “This is what we’ve worked so hard for during the season.”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.