McDaniel brothers set eyes on the future after winning Cowdin Cup

Thane McDaniel (left) stands with his older brother Trae McDaniel (right) at the celebration for the Cowdin Cup Championship Sunday at Rathert Field.

Brothers Trae and Thane McDaniel celebrated a Cowdin Cup championship together on Saturday night, but their next steps will be quite different.

Trae will be saying goodbye to the game he has loved since he was 4 years old, while Thane will be starting a new chapter in his story.

For the younger brother, Thane, his baseball career is just getting started. He will be traveling to the University of Kansas in a couple weeks to begin his freshman year. Thane loved being apart of Trae’s final baseball season, from playing catch in the outfield to just hanging out in general. The Brigade offered Thane a great opportunity to hone his skills in preparation of playing at the Division I level and good lessons as well.

“I just learned that it becomes harder over time,” Thane said. “You have struggles, and you have to get past the struggles. You just learn more about yourself playing baseball games with better players and situations like that.”

Thane said he looks forward to getting away from home a little bit, meeting new people and teammates, and getting the chance to travel the country more.

For Trae, going out with a championship was important to him. After playing at Fort Hays State, he knew that this summer was going to be his final one. On Sunday at a celebration of the Cowdin Cup championship at Rathert Field, reality was setting in for him.

“It kind of has hit me; I knew this was going to be it for me coming into the summer,” he said. “I had a goal in mind and that was to win the championship. Just to go out like that playing for a city that I love and playing in front of people who have followed me my whole life. Playing with my brother and with my teammates now that I consider brothers, there was nothing better in my eyes. It was all I could ask for.”

Playing in Junction City with his brother was special to Trae. Those that have seen them grow together know the special bond they share.

They haven’t played on the same team since they got to play one season at Junction City High School together when Thane was a freshman and Trae was a senior.

“Me and him are best friends, everybody who knows us knows that,” Trae said. “I got to play with him one year in high school and I always considered that to be my favorite year in baseball ever, when I was a senior and he was a freshman. To be able to do that again was just awesome, just to be able to share the field with him and go on road trips with him and hang out.”

Trae said he will miss the relationships that baseball has given him. Playing summer and college ball has given him the opportunity to meet players from around the nation, with whom he has made unbreakable bonds.

Trae looks to finish up at Fort Hays State this school year and plans to attend Kansas State University to pursue a master’s degree in accounting. He believes his devotion to baseball has helped prepare him for this next chapter of his life, and he said he looks forward to what his future has in store for him.

“I’m excited to better myself in some other ways,” he said. “Baseball has been preparing me for that. It’s helped me shape and helped make me the man I am today. I guess I’m just excited to go out in the real world and start being a productive member in society.”

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