LOS ANGELES (WNCN) – The only thing more exciting than getting the call up to the majors is sharing it with your family. That’s what Fayetteville’s Austin Warren did at 1:48 a.m. Wednesday.
“I think I answered the phone with my eyes closed and said, ‘Austin got the call! Austin got the call,'” said his mom, Alana Hix.
Warren came up through the youth baseball ranks in the Fayetteville area and played his high school ball at Terry Sanford.
He was brought up by the Los Angeles Angels, who had a game Wednesday night. His parents didn’t want to miss it and began the 2,500-mile trek from North Carolina to California. It was tough, but doable.
It was a different story for his sister, Keely. She was vacationing in Greece.
“I spent all day crying my eyes out completely heartbroken that I was going to miss his debut,” she said. “Fortunately, he did not pitch that night, and I cried all over again knowing my 16-hour journey to get back to the states to L.A. to see his debut (Thursday) night was going to happen.”
The family convened in Los Angeles, decked out in customized Warren gear.
“I think we almost ran them out of letters, possibly, for Warren,” said his girlfriend, Trinity Carroll. “We actually had to get the small letters because they did not have any of the big letters.”
More than 18,000 were in attendance for his debut Thursday night against Oakland. Most knew where Warren’s family was set up. By the eighth inning, they had the fans around them all wanting to see the newest Angel take the mound.
“It got to the point where the pitcher before Austin was in a bit of trouble, and our whole section was wanting him to walk the next guy,” Hix said. “Some people were hollering ‘hit him’ because they all wanted to see Austin.”
Warren was sent to the mound in the eighth inning. He was lights out. He retired the first four MLB batters he faced and finished off the eighth inning with his first career strikeout.
“He’s the guy that he’s always been — cool, calm, and collected. He doesn’t seem to ever be nervous. We are a lot more nervous than he is, I can tell you that,” said his dad, Marty Warren.
And, it goes without saying that they’re proud. Many dream of playing in the MLB. Few make it a reality.
“To know that he finally got something he worked so hard for was absolutely awesome. We are still trying to go through the emotions of what this had been for all of us, including him, and I don’t think we have quite figured it out yet,” Carroll said.