TCL Coppell Copperheads Continue Legacy

by BoCarter | Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2017

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April 20, 2017 (Contact: Bo Carter, NCBWA, 214-418-6132, bcarter@footballfoundation.com)

TCL Coppell Copperheads Continue Their Legacy in 2017 Major League Ranks

COPPELL, Texas – Gone but definitely not forgotten in the soon-to-be 14-season annals of the Texas Collegiate League summer wood bat confab, the Coppell Copperheads continue to exert their influence over Major League Baseball ranks with 13 current alumni of the team and possibly more to come on MLB active 2017 rosters.

The team, which won four of the first eight TCL titles in 2004, ’07, ’09, and ’11, later morphed into the North Texas Marshals after merging with the longtime rival McKinney Marshals, has some of many household names in ’17 and a long history of sending standouts to the majors.

Current Copperheads alumni gracing current MLB rosters and their college affiliations are Brock Holt (Rice), Red Sox; Mike Bolsinger (Arkansas), Blue Jays; Chris Davis (Central Arkansas), Orioles; Blake Parker (Arkansas), Angels; Adam Moore (Nebraska/UT Arlington), Indians; Tyler Collins (Howard College, Texas), Tigers; Dillon Gee (UT Arlington), Rangers; Nate Karns (Texas Tech), Royals; Brandon Belt (Texas), Giants; Paul Goldschmidt (Texas State), Diamondbacks; James Russell (Texas), Indians; Brett Pill (Cal State Fullerton), Tigers; and Zach Neal (Oklahoma), A’s.

These players have led the National League in home runs (36) and RBI (125) by Goldschmidt in 2013, led the majors in homers (50) by Chris Davis in ’13, pitched or batted their teams to MLB divisional titles and World Series appearances, and some are pushing 10 years of MLB service as interesting as that seems since the TCL began in 2004.

Two other Coppell stalwarts – Rett Varner (UT Arlington) and Preston Beck (UT Arlington) are in Class AAA (Beck opened the season in the minors with a .364 batting average through 12 games) are on the cusp of Major League entry while Coppell native Corey Kluber (Stetson, a 2016 Cy Young Award finalist with the Cleveland Indians) was scheduled to play with the Copperheads in summer 2006 but decided to exercise other options.

The Copperheads also featured Jess Todd (Arkansas) and Roger Kieschnick (Texas Tech) previously on Major League squads, but they have since retired.

Though the competing Copperheads who were coached by the likes of current Oklahoma assistant coach Skip Johnson and Navarro College legendary coach Whoa Dill during part of their illustrious existence are no longer in the TCL standings, the legacy of standouts they produced resonates throughout MLB parks on any almost any given night.

Coppell also boasted some very familiar names in Dallas-Fort Worth and Big 12 Conference coaching lore. Jack Giese who later coached at OU guided the Copperheads to their first crown in 2004 and assisted when Skip Johnson left the TCL power initially to become pitching coach at Texas, Current Texas Tech assistant head coach J-Bob Thomas also was on the bench in Coppell the first two years.

Yes, the Coppell Copperheads of the 2004-09 TCL will live on for decades in both Major League Baseball legacies and whenever great summer league squads are mentioned.

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