Ryan Hooper of the Glens Falls Dragons (PC: Shawn Stannard/Stannard Photography)
With only four games played in two years at UC Davis, Ryan Hooper has made the most of his time playing for the Glens Falls Dragons in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this summer to make up for lost time.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — As a team that has had its ups and downs throughout the 2015 season, Glens Falls has a prospect that has been nothing but steady during the 2015 campaign. A leader on and off the field, Ryan Hooper has become a special talent in Glens Falls that will be dearly missed at season's end.
As a redshirt freshman at the University of California, Davis this past spring, Hooper saw very little action on the field due to injury. Coming to play in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this summer, the 20-year old Hooper has had a season to remember in upstate New York.
“I have loved my time up here in Glens Falls,” Hooper said in a recent phone interview with Perfect Game. “I came to New York with a chip on my shoulder and wanted to prove I could play at a high level throughout the season.”
A product of Moraga, Calif., Hooper led his high school team to a fourth straight North Coast Section and Diablo Foothill Athletic League title as a senior, hitting .487 while also playing four different positions defensively.
As a PGCBL participant, Hooper also impressed scouts with his abilities at the plate and in the field, which correlate to his strong drive and competitive nature to succeed at all cost.
“The Perfect Game Collegiate League is a great organization that has helped me improve a lot this summer,” Hooper said. “I’m a very competitive guy who wants to succeed and I came here with that in mind.”
Leading Glen Falls this summer with five home runs, Hooper’s eight doubles and 20 RBI are also good for second and third among those on the Glens Falls' roster. With a batting average of .307, the Dragon’s outfielder has shown his ability to hit for power and average, something he hopes translates over to UC Davis this fall.
“I go out there trying to improve my game very day. This is a high caliber league with a lot of experienced guys so I know it will benefit me in the long-haul.”
Last week Hooper also participated in the Perfect Game Collegiate League All-Star Game, representing the Dragons for the East squad. Driving in two runs on three hits, one being a home run, Hooper could have easily been named the All-Star Game MVP. With a knack for performing in the clutch, Hooper has impressed throughout his time in New York and believes there is much more to come as he plans on playing a larger role at UC Davis next year.
“I was injured a lot last year so I was excited for a chance to come to New York and show what I can do,” Hooper said of his goals for the summer. “I believe I can bring a lot to the table as I continue to grow and mature and am looking forward to doing so next spring at UC Davis.”
A converted infielder, the PGCGL All-Star came to UC Davis as a third baseman but will leave as an outfielder. With major depth at his primary position, third base, Hooper moved to the outfield and has ended up fitting nicely in the outfield grass. With an electric arm and speed to cover major ground, Hooper has been exceling at his new position in New York and looks forward to doing so in college as well.
“I believe defense is undervalued in baseball. I want to bring a spark to that side of the game and play with a lot of energy.”
By the time his collegiate career is over Hooper hopes to become a professional with dreams of making the big leagues. So far, everything looks good as the redshirt-sophomore-to-be continues to grow and mature as an adult and baseball player. Coming from a long line of baseball history, Hooper’s father and grandfather both played collegiate baseball at California and his father also spent time in the Oakland A’s and Cleveland Indians farm systems.
With a great understanding of the game, and a solid background behind him the UC Davis outfielder seems to be set on making a push for new heights. Entering the 2016 school year, Hooper wants to focus on staying healthy and giving himself an opportunity to play at a high level in college. With dreams of making the NCAA Tournament, Hooper says he is ready to lead UC Davis to heights the programs hasn’t reached in recent years.
“Our goal is to make a Regional and then look to reach Omaha,” Hooper said. “I’m confident this year we can accomplish getting to the postseason and then anything can happen from there.”