COLLEGE BASEBALL / NORTHWOODS LEAGUE

Shortstop Coldiron, in summer ball, catcher for a night

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That Cooper Coldiron – he sure knows versatility.

The former Kilgore High School Bulldogs baseball standout, now a member of the University of Houston’s baseball program, is currently in a summer league assignment in North Dakota, of all places.

And Coldiron, true to form, continues to have a flair for the dramatic.

His most recent adventure saw him move from starting shortstop for the Bismarck Larks to catcher, by necessity, to help the Larks defeat rival Duluth, 7-6, on Monday.

The Larks have been bitten heavily by the injury bug, and before the game, coaches tried out a handful of players to see who would fill the role of catcher that night.

Coldiron ultimately was given the nod, and to no surprise, he produced. The young man from Kilgore, who was also the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback in his senior season, came through in the clutch again, gunning down runners at second base in three different innings.

He also had an RBI single in the seventh inning that proved to be the game-winner.

The Larks play in the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate baseball developmental league that has 20 teams. The league has a history of producing Major League Baseball stars – among them are current Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, a two-time Cy Young Award-winner, as well as Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs, All-Star Game starting pitcher Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets standout Curtis Granderson.

As for Coldiron, he continues a baseball path that might just take him to the major leagues one day. He played 15 games for the University of Houston last season, after clearing up an eligibility problem, and helped the Cougars win in their NCAA regional. He had 13 hits in his 56 at-bats along the way.

He was drafted by the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs in the 39th round of the MLB Draft last month, but immediately told the News Herald he would return for his senior season at UH next year.

The News Herald often runs updates on Kilgore-area athletes that have moved on to collegiate or professional ranks. Anyone who has information is invited to e-mail Mitch Lucas at sports@kilgorenewsherald.com, or call (903) 984-2593.

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