Cooper Krause did not play behind the plate as a child, but he thought catcher’s mitts looked “cool.”
So, one day, when he was 9 years old, he bought one.
It was also the same day the catcher on his baseball team got injured during a game, and Krause just happened to have his new catcher’s mitt by his side.
That made him the next man up behind the plate, and he took a liking to the position immediately.
Krause, who has signed to play baseball at Columbus State University next spring, went on to develop into a solid defensive catcher for Pope with, a pension for throwing out baserunners. A Columbus State coach happened to be in attendance in a game where Krause picked off a couple runners, and one of his better games this season came in an extra-inning loss to Harrison, in which he caught multiple runners stealing.
As good as Krause is at the position, he said it does have its drawbacks.
“You’re getting beat up just about every game,” he said. “You have to keep stretching and being flexible to prevent injury. I do love seeing a runner feeling for second base, and when you see a bad jump, you have him.”
Another drawback for Krause was not making the Pope JV team as a freshman, but he said that contributed to the player he is today. It motivated him to work tirelessly on his hitting and throwing. Krause also gained 30 pounds of muscle before making the varsity roster as a sophomore.
It was that season in which he got to experience state championship success when Pope came from behind to beat Allatoona in a three-game championship series at Rome’s State Mutual Stadium.
Krause continued to progress during his career at Pope and was a rotational catcher his senior season. The Greyhounds were 9-4 overall and 3-1 in Region 7AAAAAA when it was announced that schools would close and spring sports would cease operations because of the coronavirus.
Pope seemed to be hitting its stride, and Krause said play ending was heartbreaking for he and his teammates.
“It was awful,” Krause said. “I really thought we would make a run at state, so it was pretty devastating. The season was going great, and everyone was having fun.”
Once the season was canceled, Krause kept in baseball shape, in hopes that summer baseball will take place, and he also worked out with a couple of his future Columbus State teammates.
One thing Krause learned about the season being canceled is not knowing which game will be his last. Knowing he is guaranteed at least four more years of baseball, he will not take the sport for granted.
“It puts everything into perspective,” said Krause, who graduated with a 3.7 grade-point average. “You have to play hard every game like it’s your last.”