FAU Baseball: Players detail why Hunter Cooley and Nicholas Toney are perfect choices for co-captains

The Owls look to their captains to lead them to a successful year, improving on what the team did last season.


Nicholas Windfelder

Photo of the FAU Baseball team celebrating by the dugout on March 2, 2022.

Kevin Garcia, Staff Writer

Prior to the start of the 2022 baseball season, FAU players elected senior pitcher Hunter Cooley and senior catcher Nicholas Toney as the team’s co-captains for this season. 

A crucial part of what makes a good leader in baseball is not just how they perform on the field, but their character outside of the game. The players feel that is what makes Toney stand out from the rest. 

Photo of senior catcher and co-captain Nicholas Toney. (Eston Parker III)

“[Toney] balances baseball with his school schedule, he balances these crazy named science classes and he still is doing really well in all of them,” sophomore catcher Daniel Tomasello said. “He has our back 100%. if I’m ever in a fox hole, I know I can count on him.” 

Toney will look to lead the Owls to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2019 this season following a junior year in which he produced five home runs and 22 runs batted in (RBI). He went into the 2021 season on the watchlist for the Buster Posey Award, an award given to the most outstanding catcher each season.

Toney will split time behind the plate with sophomore catcher Caleb Pendleton. For Pendleton, he is appreciative to learn behind a leader who will always hold him accountable on and off the field. 

“[Toney] always pushes people to get better in the weight room, on the field, in the cages and defensive groups,” Pendleton said. “He’ll push you but then he’ll also pick you up when you’re not having the best day.”

UP Stock Photo of senior left-hander Hunter Cooley. (Eston Parker III)

As the team primarily used him in the bullpen while making starts in his first two seasons, Cooley’s journey to the starting rotation has been unique for him. In his second sophomore season, he was named a regular starter five weeks into the season and never looked back, being named Second Team All-Conference USA.

“When I do get to be with [Cooley] on the field, he’s always the loudest, he’s always the one that takes us to the next step,” sophomore infielder Nolan Schanuel said. “He wants us to be great instead of good.”

A common thing players noted about Cooley was the competitive spirit he possesses.

“Cooley is just a competitor, he always competes no matter what it is inner-squad, whether it’s lifting or during [the] season,” Pendleton said. 

The Owls look to their captains to lead them to a successful year, improving on what the team did last season. They finished with a record of 32-25 with a 2-2 record in postseason play.

Kevin Garcia is a staff writer at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @kevingar658.