On Wednesday afternoon, family members and students crammed into the library at Krum High School, watching as three of their own signed their national letters of intent to play college sports.
Ty Damron, the senior baseball player and left-handed pitcher, joked around in the back corner of the room with his friends and family, waiting for his turn to sit at the table in the front of the room and take pictures to celebrate the occasion.
After all, he made history by signing with Texas Tech.
According to officials at the school, Damron became the first Krum athlete to sign with a Big 12 Conference school.
Damron had filed his paperwork Wednesday morning and shipped it off to Lubbock, making the decision official. Damron chose to pitch for the Red Raiders after backing out of an oral commitment to Seminole (Okla.) State College.
“It was a really hard decision,” Damron said.“Me and my family decided that it would be the best place to go.”
Wednesday was the first day of the early signing period for sports other than football, field hockey, soccer, track and field, cross country and men’s water polo.
The early signing period will end Wednesday.
Last season, as a junior, Damron started in Krum’s rotation, pitching 48 innings. He finished the year with a record of 5-3 and a 2.92 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 45 walks. At the plate, he batted .402 and had 22 RBIs while hitting out of the No. 6 spot in the order for most of the season.
But Krum head coach Ray Miller said Damron’s left arm is what allowed him to earn a partial scholarship to Tech.
“He’s got an upper-80s fastball from the left side, with I think, the frame and the potential to throw harder,” Miller said. “He’s got the potential to be a legitimate low-90s guy from the left side.”
A few days ago, that left arm and the rest of Damron’s wiry 6-foot-3 frame was intent on heading to Seminole to play college ball.
Then last weekend, Damron took a trip out to Lubbock to visit Texas Tech, where he said he enjoyed the school and the West Texas atmosphere.
On Monday afternoon, Damron received a call from former Denton standout and current Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock.
Tadlock played baseball and graduated from Denton High before going on to play to Hill College and later at Texas Tech.
In nine years as head coach at Grayson County Junior College, he recorded the highest winning percentage (.774) of all two and four-year schools.
Because of that, Damron couldn’t deny Tadlock on joining his squad in Lubbock.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Damron said. “And then he called and made an offer, and I couldn’t really turn it down.”
Before Wednesday’s ceremony in the Krum library, Damron had already sealed his intentions to play baseball for Tadlock and Texas Tech.
Wearing a red-and-black Red Raiders shirt and hat, a pair of faded jeans and black boots, Damron looked ready to begin his journey in West Texas.
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .