Due to ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 virus the American Athletic Conference has suspended all spring sporting events until further notice.
Couper Cornblum grew up playing baseball. More importantly, he grew up observing and learning about baseball.
Eddie Cornblum, Couper’s father, is a long-time coach, currently at Midway High School in Woodway, Texas. Like many sons, Couper accompanied his dad to games and practices. His dad pointed out role models such as third baseman Shane Hoelscher, who played for Eddie Cornblum at Belton High School before earning third-team All-American honors at Rice.
“He would always pay attention to the guys that were there – and the guys that weren’t there,” Eddie Cornblum said. “The guys that aren’t there aren’t getting extra work in.”
Cornblum, a freshman left fielder at Wichita State, is showed that diligence can pay off immediately in college. He has started all 15 games for the Shockers (13-2) entering this weekend’s four-game series against Nebraska (7-8). All games are on Yurview Kansas (Cox Ch. 2022).
He leads the Shockers with a .354 batting average and a .625 slugging percentage, with four doubles and three triples. His on-base percentage of .492 ranks second on the team. His seven steals rank second on the team.
Shane Hoelscher would like those numbers.
Couper Cornblum loved watching Hoelscher work on hitting and admired his confidence at the plate. He remembers a game in which his dad gave him the sign to take a pitch. Hoelscher called time and walked to his dad in the third-base coaching box, where he told him he was about to get a fastball and hit it hard.
“Next pitch – fastball and out,” Cornblum said. “Watching that guy was crazy. The confidence level he had was crazy.”
That confidence, Cornblum observed, came from a work ethic he tries to match.
“He’s been around the game . . . and that’s been a great advantage for him,” Wichita State coach Eric Wedge said. “He’s very comfortable in uniform. A lot of young kids, it takes time to get comfortable.”
— Wichita State Baseball (@GoShockersBSB) March 6, 2020
Fellow freshman Cade Clemons rooms with Cornblum. It did not take long for Clemons to decide hanging out with Cornblum made sense.
“From Day One, he was always talking about baseball and all the things he wants to accomplish,” Clemons said. “I could tell that he was someone I wanted to surround myself with if I wanted to have success.”
Clemons also, as many do, wanted to know about the “ou” in Cornblum’s first name early in the friendship.
Here is the story: His parents picked Cooper over Camden. Deena, his mother, didn’t want “Coop” to turn into his nickname, so she attempted to discourage that by replacing “oo” with “ou.”
“That didn’t work out that well,” Couper Cornblum said.
Call him “Coup” – it’s fine with him.
Cornblum, because of his dad, always focused on baseball.
Those experiences and his eye on people such as Hoelscher helped lift him into the lineup. When he was too eager at the plate and out in front of pitches early in the season, he made adjustments to slow down his hips and legs and track the ball longer. That helps him handle the breaking pitches he often sees hitting third in the order.
“Even when I make mistakes, I know what happened for those mistakes, so I can correct them more quickly,” he said. “I took the approach that (coaches) were teaching us in the fall and kind of ran with it. Even through failures, I stuck to what I was taught.”