Penn State didn't make the decision easy but Tanner Cooper is joining the Cincinnati Reds.
Cooper committed to the Nittany Lions for the next two years. When they saw him get drafted, they sweetened the pot, setting him up to play in the Cape Cod League this summer.
But the Canandaigua grad had his heart set on signing and made it official Thursday night, informing the coaching staff that he was heading for rookie ball.
Cooper was the ace of the Finger Lakes Community College staff this season, with an ERA of under 2.00. He also plays shortstop and the Reds, who drafted him Wednesday in the 35th round, are willing to have him play both positions.
"It's been a dream of mine since I was little, just doing what I love to do and getting paid to do it is incredible to me," said Cooper, who went to Stony Brook after a standout career at Canandaigua but the Sea Wolves had no interest in him pitching, which led to Cooper coming home.
"I've never worked with a professional pitching coach but the scouts think I have a high-ceiling."
His first stop will likely be Greeneville of the Appalachian League.