NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Matt Coutney hasn't strayed too far from Old Dominion's campus since the end of the Monarchs' baseball season. He's stuck around and stayed in shape.
"It's just kind of been taking it easy, recharge the battery, lucky enough to stay here and use the facilities. I'm very fortunate about that," Coutney said.
The ODU first baseman is staying sharp. Next Sunday marks the beginning of the 2022 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft and Coutney hopes that his name is called. He, like millions of baseball players around the world, has had dreams of playing in the big leagues since he can remember.
"You always think about the draft and think about making it to the bigs," he smiled. "Look out on the wall here (at Bud Metheny Baseball Stadium) and we've got big leaguers everywhere, so it's always nice to see. That kind of puts things into perspective. These guys were on this field, too. They put the work in day in and day out and anything's possible."
Coutney is coming off quite a collegiate finale of a season. He hit .376, set a program single-season record of 27 home runs, which was good enough for third in the country, and tallied 70 RBI. He led a Monarchs team that shattered its previous record with 128 round-trippers and went 41-17 on the campaign. Many think he made an impression on professional organizations with his stellar senior year.
"We're still a good week and a half away and I'm not really stressing about it," the infielder said of the wait. "It's out of my control now. I've tried to do as much work as I can."
Another ODU first baseman is finding his footing at the game's highest level, something that gives Coutney some perspective through the process. Vinnie Pasquantino made his Major League debut last week with the Kansas City Royals and connected on his first home run this past Friday.
"He was there in less than 250 Minor League games, which is awesome to see," Coutney said of his Monarch first base predecessor. "He works really hard and he's kind of somebody I can look up to. He played first base here. I tried to fill his shoes as much as I could and it's awesome to see the success he's having, too."
Can the Edmonton, Alberta, native follow in Pasquantino's footsteps? That remains to be seen. He'll get his answer soon and would still have a chance to catch on as an undrafted free agent if he does not hear his name called. Making up one of the draft picks, however, would certainly mark one of his life's high points.
"It would mean the world to me," he said. "Ever since I was young I've dreamed about this and it's been a lot of work, so I'm looking forward to it."
The Major League Baseball Amateur Draft will be held from July 17 through July 19 and be made up of 20 rounds.