Crikey! (Feature on Daniel Copeland)

05/12/2011 10:29

By Max Erman and Alan K. Fox

They call third base “the hot spot.” Because most batters are right-handed, balls fly past the area at lightning speed and the only players who stand a chance there must have reflexes to match.

But freshman Daniel Copeland can handle it.

Copeland was born in Subicao, Australia but grew up in Western Australia in Roleystone. Baseball was always a major part of his life.

Growing up, he was constantly around the sport. In fact, Copeland’s father played until he was into his forties. Copeland viewed the sport as a normal part of life and he began to play the game his father loved.

Like all athletes, Copeland worked hard to get to where he is today, especially since the baseball
community in his native Australia is so small.

“Growing up in Australia, the baseball community is so small you know just about everyone that you play with and against,” Copeland said. “Most of my friends were from baseball, so when they got better I didn’t want to get left behind so I practiced harder until I was ahead.”

Because of the sport’s relative obscurity Down Under, Copeland had to resort to playing baseball as a hobby. He was recruited to play rugby at his last school, Aquinas College.

Aquinas didn’t have a baseball team, so eventually Copeland and his parents moved to South Perth so he could continue his baseball career.

The more Copeland played, the more his skills grew and people began to notice. He didn’t even think about playing in the United States until Garrett Stembridge, one of Copeland’s high school teammates, came to the college to play.

When it was time for him to look for a college, Copeland decided he wanted to become a Titan. After a few emails with the coaches, he was on his way to Eugene to play for the college.

The coaching staff is elated to have Copeland on the squad.

“I love having him there because he is very athletic and knows what to do with the ball when he gets it,” assistant coach Jeff Lyle said. “He’s a very hard-nosed player.”

Head coach Dean Stiles chimed in with his thoughts.
“He’s a great teammate. He keeps things light and has a great sense of humor,” Stiles said. “He’s one of those guys that would sacrifice everything for a teammate.”

His teammates couldn’t be more excited to have him as a new addition to the team.

“He is a pleasure to have at practice because of his sunny outlook,” Joe Offer, who is the team captain, said. “He treats baseball as if it is a gift and that makes him a great teammate.”

“We have a lot of confidence in Dan,” pitcher Anthony Maes said. “He always gives 100 percent and I have 100 percent confidence that he will make whatever play is in front of him.”