Cooper has been on the Independence varsity baseball team for all 4 years of his high school career. He is the teams starting catcher and one of the teams top offensive players. On National Signing Day he made a commitment to play his college baseball at Division II King University, located in Bristol, Tennessee. He is having a solid senior season both behind the plate defensively, and has been hitting the ball with authority. He currently is batting .543 with 1 home run, and 22 RBI’s for the Patriots.
He continues to be focused on academics and remaining a solid student athlete. His GPA is 4.0 and he is still taking honors classes and college preparation courses in his senior year.
However, this senior season has been a challenge for the Patriots who had high expectations in winning the SW4A Conference Championship for the third time during his tenure with the team. “We have had a lot of adversity, it’s been extremely frustrating when we have not been able to close out important games,” said Cooper. He continued by adding the following, “our pitching staff has been good, our arms are strong, we have struggled defensively, and offensively we score runs, however, we continue to not capitalize on scoring opportunities stranding base runners.”
The team needs to execute better, the Patriots have good young talent, a solid group of seniors who are ready to make a second half run after Spring break. The three musketeers on the mound include senior pitchers Nick Melton, Dylan Giorgio, and Noah Haislip are expected to remain rock solid, while junior relief pitcher Jake McDaniel is throwing real well out of the bullpen. “I know our pitchers, understand their capabilities and how they want to pitch in certain situations,” said Cooper. “We just need to fine tune some things and we should have more favorable outcomes.” Cooper has settled in behind the plate more quickly this season while working with the pitching staff from an outsiders perspective.
Also, injuries to key players have plagued the Patriots this season and the coaches have asked some younger back-up players to step up. However, the team appears to be healthy for a second half run, and the bench depth is stronger based on the valuable experience they have gained.
The coaches are working the team hard and keeping the boys motivated. They are growing as a team and the senior leadership needs to step up accepting responsibility to turn this ship around.
The first step is coming from one of the key seniors, the young man behind the plate with a strong arm, who is learning to manage the pitching staff and the game. “Our seniors must take control and man up, said Cooper. His advice to the seniors is we can do this, and to the underclassman to keep working hard, remain focused, stay totally motivated, and continue to balance academics while getting our goal accomplished in the second half with a solid contribution.
“It takes a team effort, and we are a close group so I feel confident we can get the job done, said Cooper. ”