After decommitting from the University of Virginia on September 14, senior left-handed pitcher Pierce Coppola took to Instagram Thursday evening to announce his commitment to the University of Florida.
“I have a good relationship with pretty much half of the [Florida] commits because I played with them this summer,” says Coppola, who played with the Orlando Scorpions these past couple of months. The Scorpions are one of the top showcase teams in the country, with a vast majority of their players committed to Division 1 baseball programs. Another reason Coppola chose Florida was for the great weather.
“I got a chance to see the school this summer because I was living in Florida so I kind of fell in love with it,” he says. For part of each week, Coppola lived in Boynton Beach with his grandmother and the other part he lived with one of his teammates.
“Nothing against Virginia or the coaches but me and my parents had a couple conversations and I don’t think Virginia was a good fit for me,” he says. Coppola had made a verbal commitment to Virginia in July. A verbal commitment is not set in stone until a player signs the National Letter of Intent. The period for signing for senior baseball players like Coppola will start November 11 and end August 1, 2021. This is why Coppola was able to make the decision to decommit from Virgina.
On September 4, Coppola participated in the Perfect Game All-American Classic which is one of the most prestigious All-American games in the country. This year, Perfect Game brought 54 of the best players in the country to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
“We had a player’s lounge and we hung out there the whole day but they put us to work too,” says Coppola, who arrived in Oklahoma City two days before the game to get the full All-American experience. Former big league pitcher Tom Gordon was the manager for Coppola’s East squad. When he was struggling to find the strike zone in his one inning of work during the game, Gordon visited him on the mound and told Coppola to stay within himself.
“He told me I don’t have to overthrow to get strikeouts because of my leverage on the mound,” says Coppola, who then found the strike zone and got out of the inning after the pep talk. The leverage that Gordon referred to is due to Coppola’s 6’8” frame. Because his release point is so high, the plane of the ball from his hand to the plate is much more slanted than a shorter pitcher, making it extra difficult for the hitter to get an early read on the location of the ball.
Coppola will continue to work with Wladyka Pitching in Rutherford this winter to hone his craft on the mound and prepare for his senior season at Verona High School.