Just more than a week after being drafted by the New York Yankees, Edmond Santa Fe's Ty Hensley was at a baseball field in Yukon.
He wasn't playing — Hensley hasn't played in a game since the Wolves' season ended at the Class 6A state tournament in late May.
Hensley was serving as the honorary captain for a T-ball team in the Spirit League, a league for children with disabilities.
The team has several players who are patients at The Children's Center in Bethany, where Hensley has volunteered since the first of the year.
He also finished near the top of his class with a GPA around 3.67 and a scholarship to Mississippi, where he's already been accepted into the engineering program.
While Hensley has accomplished plenty on the baseball field, he's so much more.
His combination of athletic and academic accomplishment earned Hensley the Bob Colon Scholarship. It is presented by The Oklahoman and the Jim Thorpe Association to the top male high school scholar-athlete in the Oklahoma City area.
Hensley arrived at Edmond Santa Fe from Kansas just two weeks before the beginning of his freshman year, not knowing anyone at the school. Duke von Schamann was the Wolves' senior star that season. Von Schamann immediately took Hensley under his wing.
“You'd think being the lone freshman on the team, everybody would try to give you a hard time and mess with you,” Hensley said. “But Duke, right from the get-go, Duke and Tyler Sturges, they put me on their shoulders. They made me feel like I was part of the team.
“Of course, you had your little jokes and pranks, but they made it clear that there wasn't going to be any of that hostility and negative environment.”
It's a lesson Hensley remembered through his four years at Santa Fe, where he became the most decorated baseball player in the program's history.
As a senior, he was 10-0 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 111 in 55 1/3 innings and helping the Wolves reach the state semifinals.
He was named the Gatorade Oklahoma Baseball Player of the Year and was a first-round pick of the Yankees.
“Duke didn't have to do that,” Mike Hensley, Ty's father, said. “T.Y. remembered that and always said he wanted to relate and work hard to be able to relate to all the kids on the team no matter their abilities.
“It was something he was very conscientious about.”
While Mike gets plenty of credit for Ty's development — he was a high school star at Latta and played at Oklahoma before being drafted by St. Louis in the second round in 1988 — his mother also had a lot to do with the person he's become.
It was Marci Hensley that encouraged her son to volunteer at The Children's Center after her company did work there. Hensley also said much of his personality comes from his mother.
“She's an incredible, incredible woman,” Ty said. “She's stronger than a lot of guys are. She's always been there for me, even when I'm struggling. She's not real emotional, but she's someone that I can always lean on.”
Hensley faces a July 13 deadline to either sign with the Yankees or head to college.
He doesn't expect it to go down to the wire.
“I expect the decision to be made really quickly,” Hensley said.
While many first-round draft picks use college as a leverage tool to get the biggest contract available, Hensley seems genuinely excited about the possibility of playing baseball and studying at Ole Miss, should he not reach an agreement to sign.
“If that's what happens, he'll go to Ole Miss and be happy with that,” Marci said the night her son was drafted. “It's not something he's going to be disappointed with.”