Cooper’s Blasts Cap Lakers’ Sweep

Jamestown Community College’s Elwin Gomez (17) reaches to make a catch as Finger Lakes CC’s John Genau looks on. P-J photo by Alex Shipherd

Tanner Cooper was the designated hitter on the lineup card of Finger Lakes Community College baseball coach Sean Marren in the nightcap of Thursday’s NJCAA Division III doubleheader at Diethrick Park.

Cooper lived up to that billing, and then some.

The sophomore drilled a pair of long home runs in his first two at-bats to highlight the Lakers’ 12-2 victory over Jamestown CC and a sweep of the twin bill.

Cooper, a transfer from Stony Brook, is already a Division I commit to Penn State University. Judging by his performance so far this spring, the Farmington, New York native should make the Nittany Lions quite happy.

Consider:

Finger Lakes Community College’s Tanner Cooper (26) celebrates his second home run with teammate Nick Stein during Thursday’s NJCAA Division III baseball game against Jamestown CC at Diethrick Park. P-J photo by Alex Shipherd

In 44 games, Cooper is hitting almost .400 with six home runs and 48 RBIs. Furthermore, he boasts a 6-1 record on the mound, has yielded just 27 hits in 43• innings pitched, struck out 84 and walked only eight.

Oh, and did we mention his fastball has been clocked at 94 miles per hour?

It was no wonder that Marren was all smiles when asked about his 6-foot-3 star.

“For as talented a baseball player as he is, the most special thing is how great a young man he is,” he said. “It’s been a privilege to coach him and watch him develop.”

On the heels of a 13-3 win in the first game, Finger Lakes CC wasted little time taking the lead for good in the first inning of the second contest on Cooper’s solo blast over the left-field wall.

“He guessed right, the ball was up a little in the zone and he certainly squared it up, to say the least,” Marren said.

Added Jayhawks coach Matt Cummings: “He is as advertised.”

Cooper added another round-tripper in the third inning — a two-run blast –to extend the Lakers’ lead to 3-0 in support of winning pitcher Lewis Pettit, who allowed just one run and one hit over five innings of work.

As it turned out, that was all the visitors needed to complete the sweep as they added four runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and three more in the seventh.

Alex Xapsos added three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs; Omar Rosa and Jarrod Williams each had two hits; and Nick Stein contributed a double for the Lakers (29-15).

Caleb Caldwell had a double and an RBI single for the Jayhawks (7-9).

The Jayhawks return to action this weekend with doubleheaders at Onondaga CC Saturday and Sunday.

“A couple of our starters are a little dinged up (right now), so we’re shifting our focus to our Onondaga series, which is big for us,” Cummings said. “We dropped four (games against Finger Lakes CC this week), so we have to pick up four on the weekend.”

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