For a player who went largely unnoticed in high school, Cory Kopec has sure helped the Maryville College baseball team to a successful year thus far.
The Scots (22-9) are one of the region’s hottest teams as they close on the Great South Athletic Conference tournament April 29 through May 1 at Maryville’s Scotland Yard. Kopec is hitting a solid .369 on the season, second-best among Scots. His 41 hits trail only senior Mikee Moore’s 48. Moore’s .375 batting average also paces Maryville.
Kopec’s 24 runs scored and .432 slugging percentage are both top-five Maryville statistics.
Hitting is not the only thing Kopec does well. His speed helps the Scots out from time to time, Kopec 9-of-12 in stolen base attempts. He’s fielding his outfield position at .952 success rate with one error on the season
Kopec attributes his success at the plate to his approach. He smarter in the box now, he said. Increased patience has him more relaxed and gets him out of bad situations.
“I’m excited to host the GSAC tournament,” Kopec said. “The last time we hosted it, we won it. I think it'll be great to have all of our fans there watching and cheering as we face our biggest rivals at the end of the year. “
The Scots secured Kopec’s services after high school through persistence.
“In the July after my senior year of high school, I came to Maryville to do a workout for Coach [John] Rypel,” he said. “He watched me hit a little bit and he watched me throw a bullpen. In the days following the workout, he showed a lot of interest in me. He called me pretty much every day until I committed.”
Making the move from St. Thomas Aquinas High School to Maryville wasn’t on the baseball side. Kopec said he had to make a lot of changes from a psychological standpoint.
“You really need to be a student of the game in order to succeed at the college level,” he said. “You need to listen to what the coaches teach you and refine your skills.”