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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Man on a Mission

Photo by Lawrence Smelser

After a torn rotator cuff ended his 2016 season, Blake Kopetsky aims to make his 2017 season memorable.

Blake Kopetsky saw his baseball life flash before his eyes last year.

As a senior in 2016, Kopetsky injured his arm on opening weekend while diving for a ball in pregame warmups. The torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder required surgery and an arduous rehab process. He graduated from Texas A&M last May and pondered giving up baseball for good. Then he thought better of it, enrolled in graduate school and decided to come back for his redshirt senior season.

The result has been an incredibly motivated leader who eagerly awaits making an impact on the team he grew up rooting for as a young boy.

“I figure I can’t play baseball forever, so I might as well give it all I’ve got for one more year,” Kopetsky said. “I’ve been working really hard and hopefully it will pay off.”

Whether it’s been his inspired play during practice and intrasquad scrimmages or the times he has gotten the Aggies up to the field to practice even on days coaches haven’t scheduled anything, Kopetsky has separated himself as one of the team’s top leaders.

“It’s been nice having him back,” said sophomore third baseman George Janca. “He’s been around the program for three years now; he’s one of our older guys and he’s taken over the leadership role of getting us where we need to be and getting everything scheduled when we don’t have practice.”

Kopetsky grew up in Bryan as a diehard A&M fan and celebrated several of his younger birthdays at Olsen Field at Aggie baseball games. Even after a decorated career at Rudder High School, Kopetsky did not receive a scholarship offer to his hometown school and opted to attend Temple Junior College for two years.

Following his first year of junior college, Kopetsky enjoyed a successful summer with the Brazos Valley Bombers, earning an offer from A&M, his dream college.

“As soon as they offered me a scholarship to come here, I was like ‘Yeah, I’m coming without a doubt,’” Kopetsky said. “I did really good that summer — that was by far my best season of baseball besides this one coming up hopefully.”

The Aggies, who lost six starting position players from last year’s Super Regional team, are going to count on Kopetsky’s bat and glove in 2017. He hit the ball hard in the fall and spring, and his line-drive swing coupled with his blazing speed should make him an intimidating presence in the middle of the order.

“I love where he is right now — he’s got a new lease on life,” assistant coach Justin Seely said. “He’s a talented guy and he’s on a mission.”

Kopetsky has played all over the diamond in his career, including pitcher — he was a reliable left-handed reliever down the stretch for head coach Rob Childress in 2015 — and saw time in the outfield and at first base in the preseason. Recently he has been working more in the outfield and there is a good chance he begins the season starting in right field. 

“Blake’s really stepped up,” assistant coach Will Bolt said. “He’s a guy that was kind of forgotten about because he came here as a junior college transfer, played some, got hurt and now he’s in his fifth year and he’s taken a step forward.”

However the coaches decide to use him, Kopetsky just wants to help the team. He was psyched up and ready to contribute to last year’s team in what he thought was going to be his final season, only to be saddled with the disappointment of a season-ending injury. Even though he couldn’t play or travel with the Aggies, he was at every practice trying to help in any way he could. That leadership has carried over to 2017, and Kopetsky is excited to finally get back on the field to play against a team with a different jersey.

“If I had to say there was one guy who is the biggest leader on the team I would say it’s Blake,” said junior starting pitcher Brigham Hill. “He’s got experience and he’s playing like it’s his last year. He’s very passionate about what he does and I think he’s going to have a great season.”

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  • After a torn rotator cuff ended his 2016 season, Blake Kopetsky aims to make 2017 memorable.

    Photo by Lawrence Smelser

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