NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Hoosac Valley High School graduate Matt Koperniak was one of 17 New England Collegiate Baseball League alumni to sign free agent contracts with Major League ball clubs after this month's entry draft.
Koperniak, a graduate of Trinity University who played two summers with the 'Cats at Joe Wolfe Field, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cards also inked a pair of players from the NECBL's Martha's Vineyard Sharks: Matt Chamberlain, who played at the University of New Haven with Taconic's Izaiya Mestre, and Nick Raposo (Wheaton College).
Koperkniak's former SteepleCats teammate Jackson Coutts was signed as a free agent by the Washington Nationals. He was the only other North Adams alum to sign a pro contract this month, according to the NECBL.
"Given the circumstances and the adversity that not only our league but each and every summer collegiate baseball league has had to endure this season, we could not be more proud of each and every one of our alumni that were either drafted or signed as free agents after this past weekend,” NECBL Commissioner Sean McGrath said. “No doubt will we continue to see more familiar faces do similarly in the days and weeks ahead, but regardless, I am so thrilled for all the young men who have been rewarded for their hard work and dedication not only during their time in the New England League but throughout their collegiate careers, both on the diamond and in the classroom."
The NECBL had eight players taken in the draft, starting with first-rounder Jared Schuster of the New Bedford Bay Sox. The pitcher out of Wake Forest was taken with the 25th pick by the Atlanta Braves.
Five alumni of the Newport Gulls were drafted, including a second-round selection, Hudson Haskin (Tulane), who went to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Gulls also saw a pair of their former players sign free agent contracts, giving them seven players taking their first steps on the long road to the majors.
The Orioles dipped into the NECBL talent pool more than any other MLB club, signing three free agents in addition to drafting Haskin with the 39th pick overall.
According to the college league's list, the Boston Red Sox signed just one former NECBL player, Jordan DiValerio (St. Joseph's), who played the last two summers with the Upper Valley Nighthawks.
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