Blake Allemand once dreamed of playing baseball for the San Antonio Missions, growing up in Boerne, Texas, just about 35 miles from Nelson Wolff Stadium.
Seth Johnston played his high school baseball in Boerne and Blake recalls watching the former hometown hero from the stands.
“I came to the game, I think it was 2007,” he recalled. “Seth Johnston who also went to Boerne was playing for the missions and he played, so I was like man he went to Boerne and played for the missions, that would be so cool if I was able to do that, and it turns out I did do that so it’s pretty cool that it’s come full circle.”
Now about twelve years later Blake is that kid inspiring others from his growing Hill Country town, after grinding his way there for five years in the minor leagues.
“The grind is tough,” Allemand said. “But at the same time I’m getting to do the game that I love, I get to work, I get to play for a living, so I’m pretty blessed to be able to play a kids game for a living.”
Allemand has had to grind his entire life, not blessed with prototypical size, he has had to battle for eyeballs at every level. His dad Andre played college baseball himself, at Blinn College, and recalls a piece of advice a scout gave to Blake that has buoyed him to this day.
“A Scout told him something that he kept to heart,” Andre said. “He said Blake, when you step on the field you’ve got top show everyone you can play, versus someone who’se really big, they have to show that they can’t play.”
Not many know Blakes grit and determination like his former Head coach at Texas A&M Rob Childress. Blake started at Texas A&M as a preferred walk-on, meaning he was not a scholarship player. Even though he was playing on a team full of blue-chip talent, Allemand forced his way onto the diamond and never really came off.
“I think back to when he was 13-14-15 years old coming to our camps,” Childress recalls. “He always stood out to me even at that age, because he played so hard.”
Michael Barish transferred from LSU so he had a chance to play with and against Blake, and he recalls fondly what Allemand meant to those team’s and the program as a whole.
“He started out as a walk-on, and worked into a scholarship role for us and had an incredible year here,” he said. “That’s just the way Aggie baseball is and he’s the epitome of Aggie baseball, and I’m really proud of the way he’s gone about his career.”
Maroon and White runs in the Allemand family blood. Blake followed in his parents footsteps, and his sister Brooke eventually made her way to College Station as well. When Texas A&M began recruiting Blake it was a surreal moment for his family.
“They said you’re now being recruited by A&M, and I was like blown away,” Andre recalls. “It was like, this is really happening, it was a real pinch yourself type thing.”
Allemand Left Texas A&M with the 4th most starts in school history, helping the Aggies reach 50 wins in 2015.
“The mark that we left on that program was really cool,” he said. “To know that we left that program better than we found it And that was always something I really wanted to do. To me, I want to be remembered as more than just a baseball player. The fact that I was able to do something bigger than just the game was pretty cool to be a part of.”
After spending five years playing for minor league teams from Helena, Montana to Biloxi, Mississippi Blake is back in his own back yard, a blessing on the long-and-winding road through the minor leagues. Now that Major League baseball is within Blake’s sight he’s going to continue to do what he’s done his whole life and make it hard for someone to deny him his shot, a message he wants everyone to take from his story.
“You can do anything you want if you’re willing to work for it,” he said. “I’ve put in a lot of hours, of work. A lot of preparation, the mental aspect, playing the game the right way, play hard and just work your butt off.”
In just his fifth start with the Missions Allemand hit his first career Triple-A homerun off heralded Astros prospect Forrest Whitley, from nearby Alamo Heights, a team Blake played against many times as an infielder at Boerne Champion High School.