College World Series: Texas A&M's Blake Kopetsky looks to capitalize on dream of CWS trip to Omaha
Almost two decades later, he believes the picture is still around. Blake Kopetsky thinks his mother has it.
Growing up in Bryan, Texas, Kopetsky was given a project in elementary school.
"I think it might have been second grade," the senior outfielder recalls. "It was 'Where do you see yourself in 10 or 12 years?' I wasn't a very good artist so I drew a stick figure with a hat on it. It had the A-T-M logo on it. It said 'baseball player for A&M.'"
He had forgotten about it – until it resurfaced in February of 2015.
"My mom sent it to me on Opening Day my first year here," Kopetsky recounts. "It was like wow, this is really happening."
Out of Rudder High School, some Division I schools offered, but Kopetsky went to Temple Junior College. He knew it was the right route to take back home to the program he'd always wanted to play for.
"My ultimate goal was to be here," he states.
Even in the Aggie program, the path hasn't been easy. Just as soon his senior year started, it ended. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener.
One year after a childhood picture accompanied his Aggie debut, a setback blurred his future.
Kopetsky considered giving up baseball. Having graduated with a degree in recreation, parks and tourism, he even had a job lined up.
"I was going to be dealing with fish," says Kopetsky. "I love to fish, so that was going to be my dream job."
But he decided he needed one more year in the game. One more year In the Aggie uniform. One more year with his teammates.
"It really wasn't a tough decision," he said.
So, with a second chance at a senior season, he's refreshed. And feels like he's starting anew.
Before the year, assistant coach Justin Seely stated, "He saw his baseball life pass before his eyes."
He's been a leader going back to fall ball, even if that comes with the some good-natured ribbing aimed towards his age.
Kopetsky is now 24.
"We'll call him Grandpa," says sophomore catcher Cole Bedford. "It's kind of an ongoing joke in the locker room."
"I get a lot of Paw-Paw," Kopetsky grins. "But, in the weight room I have old man strength so that's fine."
But, in true elderly fashion, Kopetsky starts — and continues — his day with a fresh brew.
"I show up to the field every morning with a cup of coffee," he says. "At least one person will say something about my coffee."
"There'd be times we're going to hit at 2:30 or three in the afternoon," says Bedford. "It's 100 degrees outside and Kopetsky's coming out with a brand new cup of coffee."
The outfielder insists the younger players don't show enough respect for a hot cup.
"They don't drink enough," Kopetsky said. "They don't appreciate it."
In his final year, Kopetsky has been no average Joe. He's hit just a couple ticks shy of .300. In the NCAA Tournament, he's batting .318. Kopetsky has hit safely in 18 of his last 22 games.
He's been a catalyst, and helped propel the Aggies to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series.
It's his last ride in an A&M uniform.
His teammates may joke about his age, but they're serious when it comes to his meaning to the Aggies.
"I think he's had a great senior year," says Bedford. "He's embraced it. He's been a great teammate, and a great leader all year."
A year that saw one of its moments unfold on Saturday after completing a Super Regional sweep.
The sun was setting behind Blue Bell Park, but not on the Aggies' season. In the day's fading light, the Aggie outfielder was beaming. He was right in the middle of the euphoria with his teammates.
Blake Kopetsky was right where he wanted to be.
"I could be starting my work week right now," he says when thinking back to Saturday's win over Davidson. "But I'm not. I'm starting a week of good practice off to go to Omaha."
Kopetsky was not a good artist in elementary school.
But, after making a wise decision to return to the Aggie program, he stood in victory amid the evening glow on a field he longed to play on.
He'd painted quite the picture for himself.