Before even starting his junior season with Hawks’ baseball, catcher and Gretna junior Cole Rigney already knows where he wants to play in college. Rigney, having already visited Liberty University on multiple occasions, after talks with Scott Jackson, has decided to join Flames baseball at the conclusion of his senior year at Gretna in 2019.
“Since I was little I’ve done a lot of catching lessons at Liberty with the catching coach there,” Rigney said. “I love the campus. I went on a tour a few months ago and I absolutely loved it.”
Rigney said that Coach Jackson was one of his favorite coaches that he’s worked with.
“He’s one of the greatest guys every,” Rigney said. “He’s willing to work with you and he has your back in anything that you do. I think that’s what overall made me pick Liberty. Knowing that I have that rock behind me, he’s a solid coach and he has faith in me as well.”
In addition to liking the coach, Rigney said he likes the success that Liberty’s baseball program has had over the years. During the 2017 season, the Flames finished the regular season in second place of the Big South with an overall record of 32-23, and a conference record of 16-8.
Rigney’s father, Chad Rigney, said that seeing his son shake Coach Jackson’s hand was one of his proudest moments as a dad. He also said that he believes his son has grown into a man through baseball.
“He just has a love for the game and it shows,” Chad Rigney said. “Everybody who knows him, knows that.”
Rigney has been playing baseball ever since he was a kid, although he said he did a little bit of fishing and hunting as well. He said while he’s been playing since he was three, he started to take it more seriously when he was 10. When he was 10 he started playing with travel teams.
“That’s when I decided that I wanted to do something in my life with baseball,” Rigney said. “I just worked hard at it and fell in love with the game. It’s in my blood to play baseball. I grew up in a baseball and softball family.”
Rigney played varsity ball at Gretna for both his freshman and sophomore years. He said through his career playing baseball he’s done almost every position in the game, but with the Hawks he’s played third base, pitcher and catcher. Going to Liberty, Rigney plans to focus mainly on catching.
“The catcher has to be a leader,” Rigney said. “You’ve got to let the pitcher know that you have his back. When you go out there and talk to him you can tell that he’s frustrated. One of the biggest reasons to go out there is to calm him down.”
So far with Gretna, Rigney said one of his favorite moments playing with the Hawks was his first at-bat as a freshman when he hit a home run on the second pitch. As a sophomore year one of his favorite games was a playoff game that the team won.
He said two of his biggest influences during his career in baseball were his travel team coaches Brian Burnette and John Walker. They worked hard with him and helped arranged for him to work with the coaches at Liberty.
Rigney also said that one of the big things he’ll be looking to do as a junior is improve his batting average and become more of a solid leader for the team.
“Next year I’ll be a senior,” Rigney said. “The kids play behind me that are younger than me should know that they have somebody that they can fall back on.”