Hello college baseball fans. Let me start my first blog by giving you a little background information on myself. My name is Ty Zupcic, and I am a redshirt senior outfielder on the Appalachian State University baseball team. Yes, the school that beat Michigan a few years back on the football field. I am majoring in journalism with a minor in leadership studies and plan on graduating next spring. Baseball has been a part of my life ever since I was born. I was fortunate enough to grow up with my father, Bob Zupcic, playing Major League Baseball player for the Boston Red Sox in the early 1990s.
Just like many college baseball players, I’ve always had the dream of one day becoming a major leaguer. Nearly 16 months ago, playing in the Charlottesville Regional against the University of Oklahoma, my dream got put on hold. In the top of the third inning, I was rounding third trying to score. When I looked up and saw the throw was going to beat me to the plate I made the decision to slide hard into the catcher to try and knock the ball loose. After the dust settled and saw the catcher still had the ball, I knew I was out. As I made my way back to the dugout something didn’t feel right, it felt like my leg was broken. After being evaluated by the trainer and getting the “all clear,” I made my way out to centerfield to begin the next half-inning.
Six-and-a-half innings later our team pulled out a dramatic 5-4 win, giving Appalachian State it’s first regional victory in 26 years. It was the best feeling I’ve had on the baseball field, but it quickly turned into a nightmare. That “something wasn’t right” feeling turned out to be a completely torn PCL, LCL and a fractured fibula. No doctor believed that I finished the game with a completely blown out knee but I found a way.
We ended up falling to the same Oklahoma team in the regional final game a few days later, three wins away from reaching the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Having to watch the rest of the regional on crutches from the top step of the dugout was a personal gut-check for me. Never again will I take being able to play the game I love for granted. Not to say I did before, but when something so important gets taken away from you, you want it back more than ever.
After missing what would’ve been my senior season last year, I am eager and ready to get back on the field with the “A” on my hat and the “Appalachian” across my chest.
I want to use this opportunity Brian Foley and the people at College Baseball Daily blessed me with to give all you readers inside access to the Appalachian State baseball team. Also, to show you the process of overcoming a major injury and the comeback that is to follow.
With classes starting a little over a month ago, fall ball is in full swing here. Whether it’s 6 a.m. conditioning or daily practices and scrimmages, it all allows us to see where we are as a club heading into the spring. Our head coach Billy Jones (“Jonsey” as us players call him) is entering his second year as the head coach of our program. Jonsey has been at some premier baseball programs across the country, including Oklahoma State, NC State and Arizona State. He has seen what it takes to be the team dogpiling in Omaha. Everyday he makes it a point that we get better than the day before. Even though we’re a relatively unknown school in the mountains of North Carolina, we’re out to prove that our recent success is here to stay.
I look forward to keeping you guys updated on all the great things that are happening here at Appalachian State.
Playing for the dogpile.