MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — In a week in which Baylor's baseball team is expected to collect more hardware, senior slugger Cooper Kinney already has.
Kinney was named the state's Mr. Baseball for Division II during Tuesday's ceremony at New Vision Church. Later in the day the Red Raiders will open the D-II AA state tournament against Brentwood Academy, looking to claim their third consecutive state championship.
"It was great having the whole team there and hearing them cheer when my name was called," said Kinney, who was named a preseason All American by both Baseball America and Perfect Game USA and is a South Carolina signee. "A big part of me winning the award is being around the level of talent we have on this team. We all push each other to be better and compete with each other even in practice, which makes us be the best players we can."
Ranked in the MLB Top 100 draft prospects, Kinney — who also carries a 4.25 grade-point average — is batting .456 with nine home runs, 17 doubles, 44 RBIs and a .967 slugging percentage against a schedule that has included six of the top 30 teams in the nation. Since the postseason began, Kinney, who has played second, third and catcher in his career, is batting .590.
"This is a huge deal for our whole team," said Baylor coach Greg Elie. "Coop has done a great job representing Baylor and our baseball program and he deserves to cap his career with this award.
"His versatility separates him and really his body of work this season against a national schedule really stands out. To lead this team statistically, considering the amount of talent we have, is remarkable."
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