Photo provided // SWEET RIDE: Noblesville outfielder Bryce Randolph in his grandfather's Mercedes that he took to Noblesville High School Prom April 20. Randolph, who started the season in a 2-22 slump at the plate, has hit .447 since he borrowed the Mercedes.
Photo provided // SWEET RIDE: Noblesville outfielder Bryce Randolph in his grandfather's Mercedes that he took to Noblesville High School Prom April 20. Randolph, who started the season in a 2-22 slump at the plate, has hit .447 since he borrowed the Mercedes.

Noblesville senior Bryce Randolph began his season in a 2-for-22 slump at the plate. The outfielder wasn’t too thrilled with his contributions on the diamond.

His first thought was to set up a meeting with his personal hitting coach, Ryan Basham, in the second week of April to work out some of the kinks in his swing.

But then, the Noblesville High School Prom came around, and he wanted a special ride for the big dance. So he turned to one man he knew wouldn’t let him down – his maternal grandfather, “Papaw” Bill Peevler. Randolph asked his papaw if he could borrow his Mercedes, a hardtop convertible. The answer was, “Yes.”

The prom was on April 20 — a Friday. The next day, Randolph went 1-for-1. The game after that, he batted 2-for-3. He then proceeded to get four more hits in his next seven at bats. It occurred to Randolph, he said, that he was simply going to have find a way to keep the Mercedes, and let his papaw drive his Mustang.

“I’m like, I can’t give him is car back yet,” Randolph said. “I got that car, and I started hitting. And, I’m superstitions, so I don’t want anything to change. I kept telling him, ‘Papaw, I can’t give you your car back yet.’"

Since April 20, Randolph has 17 hits in 38 at-bats, good for a .447 batting average. During his hot streak, Randolph increased his overall batting average from .090 to .317.

Pawpaw has noticed two things during the streak — that his Mercedes isn't in the garage, and that his grandson is scorching at the plate.
“I don’t have (my car) back yet,” Peevler said. “I think he has stole it. I’m trying to get it back, but I’m having zero luck. He keeps telling me I can’t come and get it yet.”

Despite living about 70 miles away from Noblesville in Veedersburg, Indiana, Peevler makes the trip to every Millers’ game. “We have been super close ever since he (Bryce) was a baby,” he said. “And I’ve really enjoyed following his success on the baseball field.”

Noblesville head coach Justin Keever was unaware of the car swap, but he said he's not at all surprised by Randolph's recent hot hitting because of the type of player Randolph is.

“Bryce is really good at the plate,” Keever said. “He has a great understanding of the strike zone, he finds ways to get on base, and the opposing pitcher will always have to work hard to get him out.”

Randolph acknowledged Basham has helped, too, and it isn’t all resting on his papaw’s sweet wheels.

“The batting lesson helped, no doubt,” Randolph said. “He looked at my timing and worked on my foot work and weight distribution.”