Driving down Highway 78 in Farmersville, you’ll see a blur of light most Tuesday nights moving at about 93 miles per hour.
It was nearly imperceptible for the Sunnyvale Raiders, who traveled to Farmersville on March 15 hoping to open the District 13-4A competition with a victory. Instead, they met Cooper Strawn and the Farmers baseball team, who blanked them with a 4-0 victory.
Strawn’s fastball was a blur in the game, as he struck out 15 of the 23 batters he faced and left the game with his first no-hitter since his youth baseball days.
“It was awesome to see how happy my teammates were for me,” Strawn said. “We had such big plays in that game from Aidan [Gray] at second base, Mason [Erwin] in center field. You could tell everyone was hanging on to every pitch in that game.”
Strawn has shown major development into his junior season, dominating in the early part of the year. Along with his fastball that can hit the mid-90s, he mixes in a changeup that drops in the low-70s and two devastating breaking pitches.
In the offseason, Strawn competes with the Dallas Tigers travel ball team, one of the most successful in the entire country. Knowing he wanted to continue his development, he started his work with a specialist to improve his throwing motion.
“In the offseason, I started seeing a specialist for my pitching named Dr. [Tyler] Winfield,” Strawn said. “He’s really helped me out with my shoulder and cleaning up my delivery and it’s helped me on the mound.”
It’s paid off for the young hurler and the Farmers are reaping the rewards early this season. In five starts, Strawn is 4-1 while sporting a 0.84 ERA and surrendering just three earned runs all season. He’s even improved that mark in district play, with just one hit allowed in two starts compared to 28 strikeouts.
Strawn is also getting it done at the plate, where he’s hitting .327 for the season with a home run, six doubles and 12 RBIs as the second batter in the lineup.
He’s caught attention around the state with his skill and ability and recently committed to Texas A&M to continue his baseball career at the next level. It’s something head coach Jon Nordin knew was on the horizon for him going forward.
“Cooper was as good as he’s ever been for us, and he’s been really good all year,” head coach Jon Nordin said. “He really wants to be that kind of guy at the front of a rotation and he’s capable of doing it again. His issues in the past have revolved around his ability to throw the ball where he wants to. With the stuff he has, he’s not going to give up many hits, so if he continues to throw as many strikes as he did the other night, that won’t be the last dominant performance we see from him. He’s worked really hard at it. I was really proud of him.”
Despite the success he’s had in such a young career, Strawn is staying humble and focused on helping the Farmers do well in the playoffs this season. He credits his coaching staff and teammates for helping him succeed this year.
“A lot of it is the coaches calling pitches and Brady [Gray] is just phenomenal behind the plate,” Strawn said. “He steals me a lot of strikes and can always put me in a good position to succeed. Pitching is a team effort.”
As the season progresses, the Farmers currently sit 3-1 in district play and in a playoff position. With Strawn at the top of the rotation, coach Nordin feels like they’ll always be in a position to at least split a season series with his ability.
“The way my parents raised me, I’ve always felt like it was important to be that No. 1 guy,” Strawn said. “I want to go out there and perform well for my teammates and know that they’re going to get my very best every game.”
Strawn’s next start is scheduled for April 5 at home against Caddo Mills. The Farmers have a few non-district games before then, facing Sanger at home this Friday, April 1 and Mt. Vernon at home the following afternoon.
To read the full story, see next week’s issue of The Farmersville Times. Support your community newspaper for less than $40 a year.
By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]