Sports

Duncan fastpitch player lands a Div. 1 scholarship

Duncan’s Prestlee Cooper is a great defensive player at third base and also swings a mean bat. - submitted
Duncan’s Prestlee Cooper is a great defensive player at third base and also swings a mean bat.
— image credit: submitted

Prestlee Cooper is going to the big leagues.

The Cowichan Secondary School graduate has committed to playing NCAA Division 1 softball for the University of Indiana Purdue Mastodons at Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Cooper, whose softball career started in Duncan playing T-ball, has been with the Victoria ‘94 Devils for two years after a stint with a bantam team in Nanaimo. It has been a big commitment for Cooper to travel to Victoria for practices and games, but with no Midget A-level team in Cowichan, it was her best option. All that driving to and from Victoria paid off for the 18-year-old.

“I had to give up a lot, especially for my grad year, but it was worth it because now I have a scholarship,” she said.

Cooper is an outfielder/infielder whose excellent batting average of .547 and two MVP awards caught the attention of recruiters at the U18 Canadian Championships in Montreal. She was all set to take nursing in a post-secondary program when she got the call from Fort Wayne.

“Me and my dad flew down there in October. They wanted me to fly down to come check out the university and I talked to coaches and administration. We got to see the team play a couple of games.”

The Mastodons’ excellent level of play will push Cooper to improve her skills.

“They are unreal. I can learn a lot myself from the other players. I’m really excited to be a part of the team.”

Cooper was also impressed by the Mastodons’ positive attitude so it was an easy decision to sign a letter of intent to join the team for the spring session.

Cooper’s mother, Marlaina, is thrilled about her daughter’s opportunity down south, though will miss her when she goes.

“I am excited for her. It’s a new journey. This is something she was looking forward to getting. But I’m sad at the same time because she’s going to be leaving us.’’

As a parent, Marlaina said it is satisfying to see her child succeed.

“All your hard work and time and money and everything you put into it was worth it,” she said.

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