Hulne: Copley is back at the ball park again

Published 8:32 pm Thursday, April 11, 2019

Every athlete who’s played any sport knows that there will eventually come a time when nobody wants them on their on their team. Grand Meadow senior Drew Copley was forced to be in that situation when he tore his ACL during the fall of 2017, but now he’s thriving on the baseball diamond for Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland with the thought of playing the sport he loves for as long as he can.

Drew, who chose not to play football this past fall, was stuck in a wheelchair for two months and he went through six months of rehab after the initial injury. There were times when Drew questioned whether or not he would ever play baseball again and that was a hard thought to handle for a kid who had begun playing catch in the back yard with his dad at age three.

“There were so many things going through my mind after that injury. The next day was a pretty rough day,” Drew said. “I had so many breakdowns during rehab. My mom and dad were so supportive of me.”

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Drew credits his family, friends and trainers for pushing him through rehab, and he was able to play for the Austin Post 91 Legion baseball team last summer. Now he’s back in the in the lineup for GMLOK this spring and he’s proving to be a dominant for the Bulldogs (3-1 overall).

Drew is 3-0 on the mound, pitching 16 shutout innings, where he has struck out 32 batters. At the plate, Drew is 8-for-13 with a homer and six RBIs.

“I feel like I’m 100 percent now,” Drew said. “There’s a lot of emotion this year. I want to make my last year (with GMLOK) my best season.”

Despite growing up in a football town that has seen the Superlarks capture four Class Nine Man state titles in recent years, Drew was always drawn to the baseball diamond.

When he was 12-years old, he would spend his Saturday’s with his grandpa Jim, his dad Dan, his cousin Zach Copley and his brother Dustin. Drew went on to watch his cousin Zach play in high school.

He learned the game and played it whenever he could. Drew just couldn’t get enough of America’s pastime.

“I love baseball because that’s how our family would bond,” Drew said.

When he started playing for the GMLOK baseball team as a freshman, Drew was thrilled to be on the field with his friend Quinn Larson, a Kingsland grad.

Drew is hoping he can be reunited on the field with Larson next season as both players have committed to play baseball at Riverland Community College. Drew, who is expected to compete for time at pitcher, shortstop and third base, said that RCC head coach Derek Hahn never gave up on him after his injury, when other coaches began to lose interest.

“I’m really excited about going there. It’s a whole new level of baseball,” Drew said. “After I tore my knee, not too many people stayed interested, but Riverland was still there.”

Drew takes comfort in the fact that his baseball career will not end after this spring and there is another team that wants him to play for them. With that in his mind, he’ll likely continue to work as hard as he can at the sport he loves — because he knows what it’s life to be left without it.