Turner Cook is heading to Oglethorpe University later this year but has unfinished business with the Grangers first

Published 8:15 am Saturday, April 23, 2022

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Turner Cook has been a star for the Grangers baseball team this season. When he transferred to LaGrange before his junior year, he was trepidatious and much smaller in size.

“I was scared to death,” Cook said. “Being the new kid and having to make new friends and come to a new team was a lot, but I feel like I did the best I could, and now, I love it.”

One of the biggest undertakings Cook went through at LaGrange was hitting the weight room. He had never lifted weights at his previous school in Union City but added size to his slender frame at LaGrange.

“When they put me in the weight room, I just got so much bigger and so much stronger,” Cook said. “I began hitting with more power and throwing with more velocity. It was a game changer when I got in the weight room.”

Cook has been playing baseball since he was four and started in the infield for years, but once he began to mature he started playing catcher and has stuck with it. Cook has had a plethora of coaches over the years help mature his game, but one stands out above the rest.

“My dad had a good friend, Mike Selfe, who created Bullpen (a training facility in McDonough) who’s been there for me ever since I started playing baseball,” Cook said. “He’s been working so hard getting me looks from schools.”

Cook is no longer getting looked at from colleges as he has already declared that he will be playing baseball at Oglethorpe University. It was a pretty easy decision for Cook to make as he wanted to go to a four-year school that offered a degree in engineering. He took a long, hard look at Shorter University, but because they did not have the academic pathway he desired it was Oglethorpe all the way.

Cook has big plans for his future after baseball. When he obtains his engineering degree, he hopes to work for NASA or anywhere that will allow him to work in aeronautical engineering. He is a self-described geek and loves to play chess.

“I love it,” Cook said. “I got into chess about a year ago and every free chance I get, I play. I even have it on my phone.”

He is also a member of the National Honor Society and used to be a member of Beta Club, but now his focus is solely on academics and baseball.

When he is not dominating his coaches and teammates in chess, he is dominating opponents on the baseball diamond. Cook has been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse this year for the Grangers. Sometimes he is vocal and sometimes he lets his play do all the talking. This would not have been possible if it was not for two former Grangers taking him under their wings when he first arrived as a junior.

“Landon Tucker was a senior last year, and I told him in our last game at West Laurens, ‘thank you’ and ‘I don’t know what it would have been like if I didn’t have you here,’” Cook said. “Matthew Morgan were really the two guys that helped me when I moved here.”

Cook has fond memories of that West Laurens game despite it being the end of the Grangers season last year. Cook helped spark a furious rally with a double, but the team ultimately lost the game.

His favorite senior memory was beating Troup to win the region crown.

“It was a tight game, and we just lost to them the other night,” Cook said. “It was a region championship on our home field, and we pulled through.”

Cook’s senior year has flown by, but he is not taking his last few weeks at LaGrange for granted.

“That first semester felt like it was gone in three weeks, I barely remember it,” Cook said. “This semester has been so much fun. I can’t imagine a better senior year.”

Baseball has been fun for Cook, not just because the Grangers have a stacked team that is racking up the wins, but because he gets to play with his best friends too.

Cook has a couple of rituals before each game including eating two Kit Kats and drinking a Dr. Pepper when he is at home, but the ritual he treasures over any other is warming up with his best friend, Colton Esposito.

“I always throw the same glove and with the same partner before every game,” Cook said. “Colton and I and then with Cooper (Stephens). We like to switch it up if we lose a game.”

Colton has only been a Granger for two years, but they have molded him into a man and player worth being recruited by colleges. He did not know what being a Granger meant when he first arrived, but now he is a Granger for life.

“To be able to call myself a Granger despite only being here for two years, I just love it,” Cook said. “It’s that sense of community. Most people know me and will look out for me.”