Coopermans enjoy first season as teammates
The Cooperman family has a successful tradition of baseball.
Casey, the oldest of three brothers, just finished a successful collegiate season at Bloomsburg University. Tyler is right in the middle of his journey at DeSales Unversity. And Chad just finished his junior season at Salisbury High School where the Falcons finished a game shy of reaching the district championship. All three share one thing in common success on the pitching mound.
But while each has made a name for himself in the sport, the trio had never suited up together on the same baseball team. That changed this summer.
Casey, Tyler and Chad currently all play on the Northern Yankees in the Blue Mountain League. It's the Yankees' second season in the league after moving from the Tri-County ranks.
"It's almost been like going back to our childhood days," Casey said. "Chad would always play with us in the backyard. He was the little brother, so we would always let him play with us. He always did well and held his own, but it's really cool to see him and Tyler hold their own in a league like this.
"We are all three years apart and it never worked out. Chad was always the bat boy running around for both Tyler and my teams. He pretty much acted like a bench coach until he was like eight or nine."
While Chad and Tyler have sported Salisbury's blue and white throughout their high school years, Casey was a member of the Parkland Trojans. Besides Tyler's senior year at Salisbury (Chad's freshman season) and a handful of tournaments growing up, two two hadn't played together much. Last year's Blue Mountain season was the only time that Casey and Tyler played on the same team; Chad was rostered but didn't play.
Now, in the middle of a postseason race to a five-game championship series, the Cooperman brothers have been a crucial part of the Yankees' success.
"It's been a good experience playing with my brothers," Chad said. "It's interesting because you look up to them for so long, and then you finally get to step on the same field as them."
"It's different playing with your brothers," Tyler said, "but it's definitely been interesting and fun."
As the No. 3 seed entering the playoffs, the Yankees (23-13 in regular season) sweeped a three-game series against the No. 6 seeded Limeport Dodgers to advance to the semifinals.
"It's been a good season," Chad said. "We got the third seed in the playoffs, and we're really looking forward to see how far we can go."
"We had the No. 3 seed, [but] I think we're a little bit disappointed," Tyler said. "We thought we would finish with a little bit better record, but we made playoffs and that's the big thing."
Casey, the veteran of the three, has pitched one of his better seasons since playing with the Yankees in Tri-County and Blue Mountain. In 10 games (42 innings, second on team), he has gone 4-2 with four complete games, 30 strikeouts (team high), a 0.83 ERA (team high) and just five walks. Casey also has three saves for the Yankees
"It's right up there," Casey said. "I'm giving up a little less runs than I normally do, but we have a really good defense and that has helped."
What makes it even more impressive is the fact that Casey wasn't pitching in the spring, just months before the start of Blue Mountain.
"It's a little weird not coming in already throwing from college or high school," said Casey, a Bloomsburg University alum who joined Southern Lehigh's staff as a pitching coach in the spring. "This is the first year I haven't thrown before the Blue Mountain League or Tri County League. It's been a little weird getting back into it."
Tyler has also seen time on the mound, but has spent much of the summer at third base, a position he thrived in as a Falcon. He doesn't get to see much of the infield playing at DeSales.
"It was nice to play third base again because I pitch at school," Tyler said. "I didn't really hit with the average I would want to, but I contributed in some other ways; I pitched in like 10 innings."
Tyler is 1-1 with a 3.82 ERA and five strikeouts in 11 innings of work. He also contributed 13 runs and 13 RBIs while batting .192.
For Chad, it's been a busy summer between other baseball obligations and playing summer basketball for Salisbury as well. Still, he was able to hit .235 despite playing in 14 of the team's 35 games. He hasn't pitched in Blue Mountain, but has seen time across the infield and even behind home plate.
"I've seen limited action because of my availability, as I'm playing in tournament baseball and other things during the summer," Chad said. "But other than that, it's been good and it's been really fun."
The Yankees face the MetLife Orioles in a five-game series in the semifinals which began on Tuesday.