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Baseball dream takes Brunner to Oregon State


The Tualatin senior signs to play college ball for the Beavers

by: DAN BROOD - STAYING IN STATE -- Tualatin High School senior Cooper Brunner signs a National Letter of Intent to play college baseball at Oregon State University. TUALATIN — The Oregon State University baseball program has been building a strong tradition for years.

The Brunner family of Tualatin has an Oregon State University tradition of its own.

Those two traditions came together last week — thanks to Cooper Brunner.

Brunner, a Tualatin High School senior, signed a National Letter of Intent to play college baseball at Oregon State University last week in front of a gathering of friends, teammates, coaches and family last week at Tualatin High.

“This is so exciting,” Brunner said prior to signing the letter of intent. “It’s overwhelming. It’s great that I get to do this with my family and friends here at Tualatin.”

Among those likely thrilled with Brunner’s decision were his parents, Jeanne and Joe Brunner, who both attended Oregon State.

“I’ve grown up wanting to go there,” Cooper Brunner said. “This is very big for me. They have a great tradition and I really like (Oregon State coach) Pat Casey. I’m a fan of what they do there.”

It likely won’t take the Beavers long to become Brunner fans.

The speedy left-hander sure didn’t take long to make his mark at Tualatin.

Two years ago, as a Timberwolf sophomore, Brunner hit for a .291 batting average with an on-base percentage of .340 and a slugging percentage of .384. He scored 17 runs while knocking in 21. Maybe most impressively, he went 21-for-22 on stolen-base attempts, setting a new single-season school record for stolen bases.

Last spring, as a Tualatin junior, Brunner hit for a .321 batting average, with an on-base percentage of .398 and a slugging percentage of .481. He scored 19 runs and drove in 13. He also went 16-for-16 on stolen-base attempts. He also was a first-team All-Pacific Conference selection.

“He’s worked endlessly to become the player that he is,” Tualatin baseball coach Adam Strachan said of Brunner. “It’s great to see this happen to a kid who has put in so much hard work. And it’s really easy to root for him. He’s so humble and he treats everyone well.”

Brunner says that Oregon State is looking for him to play in the outfield.

“This is a big thing for me,” he said. “My goal always has been to play college baseball. I hope to play baseball for as long as I can.”

“This is an amazing accomplishment,” Strachan said. “He’s extremely fast and I think he’ll be a real good college baseball player. This all shows that dreams can come true.”

But, before Brunner lives his college-baseball dream, he first is looking forward to his senior baseball season at Tualatin.

“I’m excited for this season,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a state championship.”