By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
Owen Toopes has always loved the sport of baseball since first playing it as a kid.
So, the decision between football and baseball at the college level was an easy decision for the son of Mike and Jody Toopes.
Toopes signed his letter of intent this week to play baseball for Edison State Community College next season.
“I always liked baseball,” Toopes said. “Football is something that just kind of grew on me in high school. But, I knew I wanted to play baseball (in college).”
Toopes shined at both sports at Piqua.
In football, he caught 11 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns as a junior and improved on that his senior season with 27 catches for 400 yards and three touchdowns.
In baseball, Toopes has been a starter for three seasons.
The shortstop/pitcher batted .284 as a sophomore, with 23 runs scored, one double, 13 RBIs and seven stolen bases. He also had a 2-1 record on the mound, with a 2.15 ERA and 13 strikeouts.
As a junior, he batted .289 with 20 runs scored, a double and a triple, seven RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
On the mound, he had 22 strikeouts in 21 innings and a 4.27 ERA.
This season, he is batting .395 as the Indians leadoff hitter, with 13 runs scored, two doubles and four RBIs.
He also has a 3-1 record on the mound, with 21 strikeouts in 32 innings and a 2.84 ERA.
Toopes said the decision to go to Edison State was an easy one.
“Really, when I looked at it, it was the best choice for me,” Toopes said.
Piqua baseball coach Brad Lavey said it is a great opportunity for Toopes.
“It is always good when someone works hard and gets rewarded (with the opportunity to play at the next level),” Lavey said. “That is what I teach all my young men.”
And Lavey expects Toopes to be successful at Edison State.
“Owen (Toopes) has the work ethic and tools to be successful,” Lavey said. “When he gets that opportunity, there will be no stopping him. I expect him to be very successful.”
Toopes is hoping for an opportunity to play right away for the Chargers, who will use him both at shortstop and on the mound.
“I think I am going to have to work hard,” Toopes said. “I know they have a really good team and a lot of good players.”
And he is hopeful to continue to play after his two years at Edison State are done.
“If I have the opportunity, I definitely want to go on and play somewhere else,” he said. “It is (good) to have the decision made and know where I am going to play.”
Lavey said the opportunity to focus on baseball will help Toopes.
“He is going to be going to college and playing baseball year round,” Lavey said. “I think that will be an adjustment for Owen (Toopes) and I think that is really going to help him.”
And Toopes believes his best baseball is still in front of him.
“I think so,” he said. “I feel like I am still getting better and will have the opportunity to play year round.”
At the game, whose love has never left him.
Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser can be reached at email@example.com
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