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Norwood - Local Town Pages

Jack Cropper Headed To Northeastern

By Christopher Tremblay
Around the age of six years old, Norwood’s Jack Cropper was looking to get involved in sports. His uncle was a good baseball player and his dad loved the sport, so they both wanted him to give it a try. Once he started playing baseball, he found that he really enjoyed how fun the game was and that he got to play it with all of his friends.
Now some 12 years later, Cropper is on the verge of graduating from Norwood High School and headed to Northeastern University, where he’ll be playing baseball.
“It was during my sophomore year when Northeastern came calling,” Cropper said. “I was at a showcase throwing around 85 and they liked what they saw and extended me an offer. A few weeks later I committed to play baseball for them.”
In addition to the Huskies, Cropper was also talking to Boston College and Bryant University, but he felt that Northeastern would be offering him a notable education as well as having a great baseball program. The two made it a great fit for the Norwood athlete.
“Jack’s a poised individual that absolutely has all the tools to play the game,” Norwood Coach Kevin Igoe said. “He has an electric arm, and no one works harder that he does; he’s definitely ready to go.”
Like so many younger kids, the ability to play baseball at a higher level was always a dream, but one which he didn’t know would ever come true.
“As a kid you always dream about playing in college, but I wasn’t sure if would ever happen,” Cropper said. “I worked hard and did all that I could to make it happen and now that it has I’m glad that I’ll have the opportunity to play for Northeastern.”
Entering high school, Igoe knew that he had something in Cropper but was not exactly sure what he was getting in the incoming freshman. 
“We knew that he was good, but how good?” the Mustang Skipper said. “He’s become a pitcher extraordinaire. He went from a sophomore body to an 18-year-old Division 1 pitching prospect. He has definitely done the work.”
Unfortunately, he never got to play that season due to Covid-19.
“Going in a didn’t know where I’d play; I was hoping to try being a two-way player (hitting and pitching), but I just wanted to make the team,” Cropper said. “When we found out there was not going to be a season, I was very sad and angry. A lot of emotions were flowing, and I just tried to keep a positive attitude about everything and continue to work hard.”
The Norwood athlete worked hard on his game hoping there would be a season come his sophomore campaign. As a sophomore, he made the varsity squad and batted third in the lineup, but found his pitching was something to be desired. Facing the older athletes, Cropper found things difficult, but never wavered in terms of his talent. 
“It was tough going against the older hitters, but I was definitely encouraged to improve,” Cropper said. “One day, I’m going to be the older athlete in their position, and I’ll be dominating.” 
Originally, Cropper thought of himself as more of a hitter, but by the time he turned 15ish he started to really focus on his pitching, and obviously that was the right choice. 
“A lot of people told me that I had a strong arm and should try pitching,” Cropper said. “I continued to do both until I realized that pitching would take me further.”
Following that sophomore season, the Norwood hurler went out and got himself a pitching coach (Chris Costello, who was the coach of the Walpole High School baseball team).  It was with Costello that he perfected his mechanics and learned how to pitch properly; it was also when things began to take off for him on the mound.
“His fastball is unhittable, and his slider is a close second,” Igoe said. “It’s not easy to catch a high school pitcher who is throwing 95 mph, but Angel (Olaveirra) [Norwood catcher] is doing a great job. Knowing that he’s headed to Northeastern, we’re trying to be cautious with him and do the right thing by him so his future is not tarnished.”
At the time of this writing, Igoe has only given Cropper the ball for three starts. The senior hurler has gone 14 innings allowing only two earned runs and striking out 33.
As a senior pitcher throwing in the mid 90’s, Cropper has attracted a lot of attention from pro scouts and it’s not uncommon to see double digit scouts in the stands every time he takes the mound. 
“Last year, Jack did a couple of showcases and things opened the eyes of the professional scouts,” Igoe said. “Now he’s getting quite the following and he hasn’t disappointed them.”
When asked about the scouts in the stands and the possibility of turning pro, Cropper was still pretty much intent on going to Northeastern.
“It’s intimidating seeing a bunch of scouts in the stands watching you play, but its also pretty cool,” Cropper said. “To turn pro right away, I guess it would all depend on the money. It would have to be a life changing amount because going to a good school like Northeastern is top on my list.”
As the senior continues to make a name for himself, he is getting to do it with a lot of those friends that he made earlier in life because of baseball, and he is honored to be playing aside them for Norwood.
“I’ve met some of my best friends playing baseball,” Cropper said. “Baseball is a game where you fail more than you succeed, so you just need to take it for what it is and never get discouraged. Playing with these guys has made it that more special.”
Although his future is looking bright, he is still in high school with the baseball season still ongoing and Cropper and his Mustang teammates are hoping to get into the Division 2 State Tournament once again this spring and make a run at the State Championship before they leave the Norwood diamond for the last time.