Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Del Norte High graduate Propupek signs contract to play baseball in Australia

After playing four years of college baseball and summer wood-bat baseball with the Humboldt Crabs, Del Norte High graduate Chris Prokupek is ready to take his game to a whole new continent.

Prokupek, who played at NCAA Division II New Mexico Highlands University, has signed a contract to play for the Sunshine Eagles baseball club of Sunshine, Victoria, Australia.

Sunshine, located in a suburb of Melbourne, is a minor-league affiliate of the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League, the nation's professional baseball league.

"I got connected (to the Eagles) by their general manager," Prokupek told the Triplicate. "I was just hanging around watching some TV and he sent me an e-mail.

"I didn't really believe it at first, but my NMHU coach gave him my information and that's how it started."

Prokupek, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed pitcher, went 7-3 with a 5.29 ERA for New Mexico Highlands last season. Prokupek struck out 55 batters and walked 25 in 83 1/3 innings pitched.

He decided to temporarily forego his last semester at NMHU - he's pursuing a degree in environmental geology - to play for the Eagles.

"It's not every day you're asked to play baseball in a different country," Prokupek said.

"The thing I'm most excited for - besides actually playing against their competition - would be just the whole experience of their culture and all the new places I'll get to explore."

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