Players explain why Hunter Cooley and Nicholas Toney are perfect picks for co-captains – UNIVERSITY PRESS
The Owls are counting on their captains to lead them to a successful year, improving on what the team did last season.
Before the start of the 2022 baseball season, FAU players elected senior pitcher Hunter Cooley and senior receiver Nicholas Toney as the team’s co-captains for this season.
A crucial part of what makes a good leader in baseball is not just their performance on the field, but their character off the game. Players believe this is what sets Toney apart from others.
“[Toney] balances baseball with his school schedule, he balances those crazy named science classes and he still does really well in all of them,” sophomore catcher Daniel Tomasello said. “He supports us 100%. if ever i’m in a foxhole, i know i can count on him.
Toney will look to lead the Owls to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019 this season after a junior year in which he produced five home runs and 22 RBIs. He entered the 2021 season on the watch list for the Buster Posey Award, an award given to the most outstanding receiver of each season.
Toney will share time behind the plate with second-year wide receiver Caleb Pendleton. For Pendleton, he enjoys learning behind a leader who will always hold him accountable on and off the pitch.
“[Toney] always pushes people to improve in the weight room, on the field, in the cages and defensive groups,” Pendleton said. “He’ll push you but he’ll also pick you up when you’re not having the best day.”
As the team primarily used him in the bullpen during his starts in his first two seasons, Cooley’s path to the starting rotation was unique for him. In his second sophomore season, he was named a regular starter five weeks into the season and never looked back, being appointed Second Team All-Conference USA.
“When I get to be with [Cooley] on the field, he’s always the loudest, he’s always the one who takes us to the next level,” sophomore Nolan Schanuel said. “He wants us to be great instead of good.”
One common thing players noticed about Cooley was the competitive spirit he possesses.
“Cooley is just a competitor, he’s always competing no matter what it is on the team, whether it’s lifting or during [the] season,” Pendleton said.
The Owls are counting on their captains to lead them to a successful year, improving on what the team did last season. They finished 32-25 with a 2-2 playoff record.
Kevin Garcia is an editor at University Press. For more information regarding this story or others, email [email protected] or tweet it @kevingar658.