Kopack

Simon Stracher, Staff Writer

Jimmy Kopack ’12 toes the rubber, looks in for the sign, brings his hands perpendicular to his hips, raises his left leg, throws back his right arm, and catapults his body towards the plate, unleashing an 85-mile per hour fastball at an unsuspecting victim. The batter has no chance.

The pitch, to no one’s surprise, is a strike.

Also not a surprise: the transformation of Staples baseball captain Jimmy Kopack from a middle infielder to the ace pitcher for the varsity baseball team.

Kopack’s journey from the infield to the pitcher’s mound was born of necessity. Fellow captain Ben Greenberg ’12 says the change occurred during the summer before sophomore year.

“Our team was short on pitchers. Jimmy volunteered to give it a try, and ended up doing a tremendous job,” he said.

Kopack said that after he started to pitch more sophomore year, he “ended up being pretty good and stuck with it.” In fact, Kopack made the All-FCIAC West team as a junior and will be the number one starter for the Staples team that is coming off a FCIAC title.

While there is no doubt natural talent plays a part in Kopack’s success on the diamond, his passion for the game also contributes to his achievement.

“Jimmy is so competitive that he can be successful at any position. He has great life on his fastball, and great break on his curve, but it’s his incredible will to win that makes him our ace,” says Greenberg.

Kopack’s will and competitive nature mirrors that of his pitching coach Kevin Morton, who pitched for the Red Sox and has taught Kopack how to prepare throughout all of his seasons. Kopack wishes to be “as accomplished as he is,” and with the natural talent level and drive that Kopack possesses, anything seems possible.

Kopack’s work ethic is another major reason why he is the team’s ace. According to Kopack, during the offseason, he worked out with a trainer on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. He also pitched on Thursdays and hit on Tuesdays. He would also try to get an additional long toss day in sometime during the week to get his arm stronger. Essentially every day of the week for the entirety of the winter, Kopack practiced baseball, showing a work ethic that most athletes aspire to have

Kopack also has a profound love of the game. He quit football in fourth grade to play fall baseball, citing baseball as, “always his favorite sport to watch and definitely to play.”

Whether it’s striking out opposing batters, or sitting on the bench with his teammates, Jimmy Kopack’s love for the game is always there, and is a major aspect as to why he is the ace pitcher for the Staples baseball team.