Amery’s Kale Hopke has signed his way to the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Bison Baseball program. He made his declaration in front of family, friends, coaches, classmates and teammates on National Letter of Intent Day at Amery High School November 10, 2021.
Hopke’s Amery High School Baseball Coach Jeremiah Fisk said, “It is a dream to have a player like this as a coach.”
He recalled when the Hopke family moved to Amery. “I saw this big kid that was left-handed, and I was just drooling. That is what you aim for as a coach, a big lefty,” said Fisk.
He shared it was a big accomplishment for Hopke to start their first play-off game as a Freshman. COVID-19 stopped a Sophomore year baseball year for Hopke. “As a Junior, he had 117 strike-outs. That was good enough to break a 14-year record held by Matt Mullendore. He ties the record of 19 strike-outs in a game held by Bob Williamson’s 75-year-old record. It is a pretty special guy we have here,” Fisk said.
The coach said every time Hopke takes the mound, he is confident. “That is what it takes to go to this next level, having that confidence and knowing that you are able to beat anyone at any point in time,” said Fisk.
Amery High School Assistant Principal and Director of Athletics Jeff Fern said, “I think he has some unfinished business here in Amery that he would like to take care of before he leaves for North Dakota State. I think he would like to see his name at 195 lbs. again as the State Champion. He had 19 strike-outs in one game last year and I think he probably wants to get to 21. It is going to be an exciting winter and spring for Kale.”
Lastly Fern said, “Kale, don’t forget about us here in Amery when you hit the big time.”
Hopke said he choose NDSU because of the atmosphere of the campus. He said he liked that the coaches at NDSU really look for well-rounded players.
Hopke’s parents Byron and Stacy said they are very happy with their son’s decision. “We had a number of options farther away from home. It weighed heavily on us. NDSU is a nice school. Like Kale said, it has a nice atmosphere and great coaches. We really felt it was a good fit,” said Byron.
Hopke’s brother Koy expressed it will be tough to have his brother leave for North Dakota. He said, “We have been pretty close as brothers, but I am excited for him to go there to see what he can do.”
As far as his last season as a Warrior this spring, Hopke said, “I want to break the next record. I didn’t realize I was that close. It would be a big milestone.”