Few high school baseball players are versatile enough to start in the outfield one season and behind the plate the next. Center Grove senior Nick Coy, who grew up playing catcher, doesn’t see it as an obstacle.
“The past two years we’ve had real solid catchers, so I’m just trying to follow their footsteps and make sure I do a solid job,” said Coy, referring to his older brother, Nathaniel, and last season’s starting catcher, Will Smithey.
Coy started the 2016 season batting leadoff. Trojans coach Keith Hatfield later used him as the No. 5 hitter and was penciling him in as the second batter later in the season as Center Grove made its charge to the Class 4A semistate.
Story continues below gallery
Coy finished with a .288 batting average, 14 runs, two steals and no errors.
The Trojans lost to Roncalli, 8-5, at the Plainfield Semistate to finish last season with a 24-4 record. They open the upcoming season March 31 with a road rematch against the same Rebels program.
With juniors Eli Lawyer-Smith and Kyle Winkler on the roster, Hatfield feels he’ll have enough catching depth to give Coy the occasional break from the physical rigors of the position.
The coach estimates Coy will play anywhere from five to eight games in left.
“Last season, Nick was able to make that transition pretty easily,” Hatfield said. “Probably the hardest part about returning to catcher this season was receiving and the timing of catching a ball.
“We’ve been blessed at Center Grove with catchers. Nick has had to wait his turn to be the starter, but we have other good catchers in the program where I feel we’ll be able to give him a break.”
In November, Coy signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at Indiana Wesleyan University, an NAIA program located in Marion. The Wildcats’ roster already includes two Johnson County products in freshman pitchers Conner Cantrell (Center Grove) and Krae Sparks (Greenwood Christian Academy).
Coy, who carries a 3.6 grade-point average, plans to major in either business or accounting.
First, he looks forward to returning to his comfort zone after playing second base for the Center Grove junior varsity squad as a sophomore and left for the varsity last spring.
“Last season was the first time I was an outfielder, but as the season went on I got more comfortable. Naturally, I’m a catcher, but I’m very adaptable,” Coy said. “I just enjoy playing the game.”
Name: Nick Coy
Family: Parents Greg and Jennifer; brothers Nathaniel, 20, Nolan, 16, and Noah, 11
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite food: Pork chops
Favorite movie: “Step Brothers”
Favorite athlete: Bryce Harper
Favorite teams: All Indiana University teams