Regis alum tear­ing up Alaskan League

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING - By Kyle New­man Kyle New­man: 303-954-1773 knew­man@den­ver­ or @KyleNew­manDP

As any­one who has ever lived in Ari­zona will tell you, the dry heat of the desert can wear on you. So when Grand Canyon Univer­sity out­fielder and Regis Je­suit High School grad­u­ate Quin Cot­ton got the op­por­tu­nity to es­cape the Cop­per State’s oven and head north to play in the Alaska Base­ball League for the sum­mer, he jumped at the op­por­tu­nity.

The change in scenery paid off. Cot­ton’s siz­zling .374 av­er­age for the Mat-Su Min­ers leads the ABL as the Grand Canyon sopho­more is look­ing like the best hit­ter in a league full of Di­vi­sion I tal­ent — and he’s hit­ting ex­actly 100 points higher than he did in 19 starts and 73 at-bats in his first sea­son in Phoenix.

“One thing that be­ing in Alaska has taught me is just to re­lax,” Cot­ton said. “Dur­ing the spring, I was too emo­tion­ally in­vested in some of my at-bats, and if you do that, you’re drained emo­tion­ally at the end of a game and at the end of a sea­son. Not stress­ing about the out­come of ev­ery sin­gle at-bat has helped me a lot.”

The small, scenic moun­tain and fish­ing towns where the five ABL teams are lo­cated cer­tainly buoy the no-wor­ries men­tal state of Cot­ton, who was se­lected to the league’s all-star game a few weeks ago and came in third in the home run derby.

Now, he said, it’s about trans­lat­ing this sum­mer’s con­sis­tency to the col­lege sea­son. The fi­nance and eco­nomics ma­jor who was se­lected by the Rock­ies in the 38th round of the 2016 draft has a chance to crack the GCU lineup af­ter the de­par­ture of two of the An­telopes’ start­ing out­field­ers.

“I be­lieve I showed some prom­ise this spring, al­though I have to work on putting the bat on the ball and not strik­ing out,” said Cot­ton, who was the co-Con­ti­nen­tal League player of the year as a se­nior at Regis Je­suit. “But my main con­cern now is just con­tin­u­ing to en­joy the game in this beau­ti­ful state. The ABL play­offs are right around the cor­ner, and we’re in first place with a re­ally good chance to make a run at the ti­tle.”

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