Tyler Cooper and Nolan Stamke have been playing baseball together since they were tall enough to hold a bat.
The two freshmen, who grew up together in Burns, Oregon, are playing very well on Central Oregon Community College’s club Baseball team, according to coach Matt Greenleaf.
COCC Bobcats are 2-0 in the Northern Pacific West conference National Club Baseball Association. COCC is the only community college in a league made up of universitiy club teams, explained Cooper.
“Going up against the big schools definitely adds to the competition factor,” Cooper said.
COCC won their first two games against Portland State University, in March.
Cooper hit a home run, his first at bat, which won the game with a “walk off.”
”It was bottom of the last inning. We were tied 8-8,” Cooper said. “Nolan was on first [base] and I hit a home run to win the game 10-8. It was a good first game.”
Samke has played catcher, shortstop and pitcher. I play “wherever they need me,” he said.
Pitching is a “mental” position, Stamke explained, that comes with a lot of pressure.
For the first five innings against PSU, Stamke gave up zero hits pitching.
The Bobcats have two home series scheduled April 27-28 and May 4-5 that will be held at Vince Genna Stadium in Bend.
Stamke and Cooper love baseball, for the competitiveness.
Baseball has always been a passion for Cooper.
“You just become part of the game,” Stamke said.
Growing up in a rural town of under 3,000 people, there were limited recreational activities for Cooper and Stamke.
“Play sports,” Cooper said. “That’s all we did.”
Stamke and Cooper played football, basketball and baseball for the Burns Hilanders. Their baseball team made it to the playoffs all four years, and to the semi-finals two out of four years, according to Stamke.
“We had a very competitive [baseball] coach. We played at a high-level,” Cooper said. “Club ball is more relaxed, but it still has its competitiveness.”