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Riverdale's Cooper stands out in two sports

Photo by Derrick Mahone / Riverdale's Ti'Keem Cooper has made a sizable impact on the baseball field for the Raiders this season.

Photo by Derrick Mahone / Riverdale's Ti'Keem Cooper has made a sizable impact on the baseball field for the Raiders this season.

RIVERDALE — Riverdale baseball coach William Silveri is not surprised to see that former shortstop Tikeem Cooper excels in both baseball and football at the school.

Despite his size, which is listed at 5-foot-7, Silveri is quick to add that basketball could have been another option.

“He is so athletic,” Silveri said. “I think he could have started on the basketball team.”

Maybe the coach is being a little ambitious, but Cooper’s success this past school year is well documented. He was all-region and county in baseball and football.

He is expected to sign a baseball scholarship over the summer.

Silveri says that Cooper comes from a “family of athletes”, which can account for some of his success.

This past baseball season, Cooper hit .474 with 21 RBIs and 34 runs scored. He also had 11 doubles and eight triples to got alone with 28 stolen bases.

The speedster was only caught stealing once during the year.

In football, Cooper helped the Raiders reached the Class AAAA playoffs after rushing for 709 yards on 114 carries and six touchdowns. Riverdale reached the playoffs for the first time since the 2005 season.

This past season, Riverdale lost to Cairo in the first round of the playoffs.

“I think football went really well for me,” Cooper said. “I was pretty pleased with my baseball season.”

Cooper participated in the annual Clayton County High School All-star Baseball Game on Thursday at Mundy’s Mill High. He has offers from LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis and Virginia University in Lynchburg.

Once in college, Cooper is expected to switch from the shortstop position to second base.

“Many schools believe that he is better suited for that position,” Silveri said. “It would be a good move for him. I could see him playing beyond the college level.”

Cooper said he is comfortable with the switch to second base since that is his original position.

“I like the ideal of going back to second,” Cooper said. “Actually, I started out playing second base before I got in high school. It really doesn’t matter to me, as long as I get a chance to play.”