The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Transfer seeks to spark Hawkeye baseball

Hawkeye Tyler Peyton talks to press during media day in the Jacobson Football Operations Building on Thursday. Peyton, a prized pitcher who also plays first base, declined an offer to play for the Cincinnati Reds in order to return to Iowa. (The Daily Iowan/Mary Mathis)

For junior infielder Mason McCoy, the opportunity to play at Iowa is just one more chance to prove to everyone that he belongs with the big boys.

McCoy will begin his first season with the Hawkeyes after transferring from Illinois Central College, near his hometown of Washington, Illinois.

For McCoy, people didn’t doubt him at Illinois Central; the Cougar shortstop was a two-time all-region and a two-time All-American there. But last summer in Wisconsin, people were skeptical about whether he belonged.

The 6-foot, 175-pound middle infielder signed a 10-day contract with the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League, one of the most prestigious college summer leagues in the country, to fill in for someone who was scheduled to show up later in the summer.

“I was only supposed to be there for 10 days,” McCoy said. “So I knew I needed to make the most out of my time there, because it could be cut short. But coming from a junior college, there were good pitchers in our league, but not every day like in the Northwoods League, where guys were bringing 88 to 93 [mph] consistently.”

McCoy, playing on that 10-day contract, forced the Loggers to keep him after out-hitting every other player in the league, posting a .367 average and setting Northwoods League records with 112 hits, 80 runs, and 168 total bases before being named league MVP.

The fire he felt in wanting to prove to everyone that a junior-college player could compete with the Division-1 guys kept him going, he said.

Now at Iowa, the Northwoods MVP is set to start the season at second base for the Hawkeyes. A shortstop throughout his college career, McCoy will move to the other side of the bag to work with senior shortstop Nick Roscetti, a teammate of his in high school.

“I’ve been really impressed with [McCoy],” Roscetti said. “Mason and I played a little high-school ball together, so we’re pretty familiar with each other. He’s a great dude, a great kid off the field, he’s a really reliable hitter, a reliable fielder, and it’ll be a real pleasure playing with him up the middle.”

McCoy said the transition to Iowa has been more difficult than he expected, with more responsibility being put on him than there was at Illinois Central. While playing for the Cougars, McCoy continued to live at home with his parents; now he lives on his own in Iowa City.

He said knowing Roscetti from his past playing days has helped make the transition easier, as has the coaching staff.

However difficult the off-the-field transition may be, McCoy’s performance on the field will translate quite well, head coach Rick Heller said.

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