Senior infielder Tyler Cook finished his Chapman baseball career in style – he had 42 runs and 39 runs batted in with a .431 batting average this season. Cook, who was this past week’s Student Athlete of the Week, also hit a career-high eight home runs this season, bringing his total to 19 home runs and 214 hits in a Chapman uniform.
Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
A: Usually the night before, I like to eat ice cream. That’s always just been a lucky thing. I have a lucky food that I like to eat during the week as well. I don’t even know what they’re called – Doritos, kind of like Taquis. If I eat those, I get hits. If I’m struggling and I need a couple hits, I go and get a bag of those.
Q: What is your favorite part about baseball?
A: I’d say hitting. Just being in the batter’s box, you against the pitcher. You know he’s going to do everything to get you out – try to trick you, fool you or just plain beat you. It gets tough, and you need to be ready for everything. I just love the competitive aspect about that.
Q: What else do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Up until now, I’ve always just enjoyed coming to work out. Really just putting in the extra work for baseball, whether that’s extra hitting or extra workouts. I used to love that, but that’s sort of changing now – it’s coming to an end. I’m looking forward to starting to golf, or maybe going down to the beach more often.
Q: What is your favorite memory of playing baseball at Chapman?
A: It’s been this year and my sophomore year, being in the (conference) tournament at the end. Both times, we ended up coming up short, but just the fact that (the playoffs are) a fresh season in a sense, where it doesn’t matter what you’ve done before – everyone is starting the same at 0-0. Every game and every play just means so much more.
Q: What are your thoughts on your final season as a Panther?
A: It’s really disappointing to end the way we ended. At one point in the season, we all had really high hopes – for good reasons too. We had a really good team, and it looked like this was the year that we would move on to the regional championships. We had parts of the season that we played really well, but there were just too many times when we were inconsistent. We’d hit well but wouldn’t pitch well, or we’d pitch well and wouldn’t hit well, or it would be a combination of both. We couldn’t put everything together when it mattered at the end. It’s disappointing, but we still had a lot of success.
Q: What will you miss about playing for Chapman?
A: I’d say just being out on the field six days a week with my friends. Just showing up every day, working hard in the weight room, showing up at the field, trying to get better and try to win as many games as we could. I’ll miss the comradery.
Q: What have you taken away from all these years of playing?
A: Everything is a competition. Especially on the field, from the team you’re competing against or the guy behind you that’s trying to take your position – you’re just always trying to become better. I feel like that really translates to everything outside of baseball too. You’re always just trying to be the best you can be.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I’m going to give it a shot – in the next few weeks – to try to continue playing baseball. I hope something arises in the next few weeks, but if not, I’ll go off and start a career and work for my dad’s company.