UTICA, N.Y.– It’s a new season and there’s a new set of backstops for the Utica Blue Sox. After a strong offensive season from the Utica catchers a year ago, the team looks to reload at the position this year.
First up is Greg Kopp. Kopp is coming off a dominant sophomore season at Hamilton, in which he started in 31 of 33 games. He was very effective, sporting a .361 batting average and .849 on-base-plus-slugging. Kopp also produced with runners on base, finishing third on the team with 24 runs batted in.
Kopp brings versatility to the Blue Sox on the defensive end as well. He logged innings all over the diamond in his second season with the Continentals. After opening the year as the primary backstop, he shifted towards playing at first to open up a spot for a slugging teammate. By the end of the year, Kopp was a regular at second base and even shifted to third for the team’s playoff run.
The next catcher that will be joining Utica is former preseason All American, Gavin LaCoe. LaCoe wrapped up his first season at Mount Saint Mary’s with a very healthy .286 batting average across 23 games and 13 starts. The backstop also got his first collegiate home run under his belt during a red hot week in April where he went 6-for-9 at the plate.
Defensively, LaCoe has a cannon. After converting from pitcher to catcher, his arm has been one of the best. He has reached up to 85 miles per hour on the radar gun and nailed a pair of would-be baserunners in his rookie year. Similar to Kopp, LaCoe also brings some versatility to his game as he played some first base in high school.
The final catcher joining the squad this season is Will Radich. Radich hails from Lake Oswego, Oregon, and is currently attending Valparaiso. He joined The Beacons as the top catching prospect in all of Oregon. In high school, Radich was a two-time preseason All American, as well as a two-time member of the IMG Fall All-Star team.
Where Radich really shines, however, is on the defensive side. At a National Perfect Game showcase in 2020, he finished with the ninth best pop time at 2.04 seconds. He is no slouch on the offensive end, as he registered a .429 on-base-percentage in his limited time in the Valparaiso lineup.
With the strong class at the catcher position, the Blue Sox expect to once again have a lot of production out of their young backstops.
For fans wanting to see the Utica Blue Sox catchers in action, opening day is Thursday June 1st against Mohawk Valley with the home opener on Saturday, June 3rd against Oneonta.
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