A pair of standout athletes at South Decatur this week confirmed their commitment to play college athletics beyond high school.
Senior Taylor Kopplin signed his letter of intent to play baseball for Manchester University, and senior Chris Johannigman signed to play football at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Kopplin, a two-sport athlete at South who leads the Cougar pitching staff this spring, said he will pitch for Manchester.
“I’ll have an opportunity to throw a lot of innings as a freshman,” said Kopplin. He is one of a group of incoming freshmen who look to pitch for Manchester.
“We have a real talented group and will be able to turn heads,” he said.
Kopplin has won three games for the Cougars this spring, while leading the team in strikeouts, innings pitched and Earned Run Average. He has thrown 15 straight scoreless innings, including a no-hitter, and has allowed just one hit in that span while striking out 25 batters.
Despite playing for a small Class 1A school, Kopplin stepped up to get noticed by colleges, sending out emails, a video of pitching sessions and went to baseball camps to gain exposure.
“I knew it was going to be hard going in as Class 1A to get noticed,” he said. “You have to be head-and-shoulders above the rest.”
The head coach of Manchester is Rick Espeset.
Kopplin thanked current South head coach Andy Seegers, coach Jeff Deck, former South JV coach Josh Burnett and former South varsity coach Joe Hartwell. Kopplin also thanked former South coach Tom Black for being a motivator. Another coach he directed appreciation toward is Doug Behlmer, who was his legion coach for the Batesville American Legion.
He also expressed thanks to his little league coaches, along with the teammates he’s had over the years.