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Newport resident to play Division I baseball at Quinnipiac

Newport Daily News logo Newport Daily News 11/21/2019 By Scott Barrett, Newport Daily News, R.I.
a baseball player throwing a ball: Tate Copeland, who played for the Newport-based R&R Construction American Legion baseball team, races around the bases during a 2018 game. [DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO] © DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO/Observer-Dispatch/Newport Daily News, R.I./TNS Tate Copeland, who played for the Newport-based R&R Construction American Legion baseball team, races around the bases during a 2018 game. [DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO]

When Tate Copeland left the Quinnipiac University campus after taking a visit, it became evident very quickly — that was the school he wanted to attend and the baseball program for which he wanted to play.

There were others schools in the fold during the recruiting process — some in the south and others big cities — but the Newport resident opted to stay closer to home. When push came to shove, the Division I university in Hamden, Connecticut, provided everything he wanted.

a person holding a sign: Tate Copeland, a senior at The Prout School in Newport, on Tuesday signed his National Letter of Intent to play Division I baseball at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. [THE PROUT SCHOOL PHOTO] © THE PROUT SCHOOL PHOTO/Observer-Dispatch/Newport Daily News, R.I./TNS Tate Copeland, a senior at The Prout School in Newport, on Tuesday signed his National Letter of Intent to play Division I baseball at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. [THE PROUT SCHOOL PHOTO]

"I chose Quinnipiac because I absolutely loved everything about the school and their baseball program," Copeland wrote in an email. "I knew the second I left campus that is where I wanted continue my baseball and academic careers."

The Prout School senior signed his National Letter of Intent during a ceremony Tuesday at the private school in South Kingstown. Standing nearby were friends and family members, teammates and Prout coach Mike LaBarbera.

Copeland had something of a breakout season with the Crusaders in the spring. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, the left-handed pitcher turned some heads when he tossed a no-hitter for the Crusaders, then played for a top-level summer league team.

His fastball topped out at 89 mph this summer, he said, and his repertoire of pitches also includes a curveball, changeup and slider. For Prout, he also plays center field and wields a good bat.

The Bobcats are coming off a season in which they went 30-29 and qualified for the NCAA Division I tournament. Quinnipiac defeated Fairfield 6-5 in 13 innings to secure the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and automatic berth in the NCAA regionals in Greenville, North Carolina.

When asked what expectations he has entering his first collegiate season, Copeland wrote, "I am definitely not expecting to have anything handed to me at all. I am expecting to have the opportunity to earn a spot to play, just like I have my whole life."

Before he heads to Connecticut, though, Copeland still has one more season with the Crusaders, who were eliminated in the Division II semifinals a season ago.

"I'm hoping to help my team win a state championship," he said.

sbarrett@newportri.com

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©2019 Newport Daily News, R.I.

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