H-F grad Coupet having successful start in MCL

Isaiah Coupet throws curveballs at life, not the other way around.

The Flossmoor resident and 2020 Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate is spending his summer pitching for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League in Whiting, Indiana. Through six appearances, he boasts an ERA of 1.35 with 19 strikeouts and only three walks in over 13 innings pitched. 

Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate Isaiah Coupet is continuing his baseball carerr this summer, pitching for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League. (David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

Homewood-Flossmoor High School graduate Isaiah Coupet is continuing his baseball carerr this summer, pitching for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League. (David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

His father, Ernst Coupet, came to the United States from Haiti as a kid. Isaiah believes being the son of an immigrant has shaped him as a person and a baseball player.

“If you have a tournament on the weekend and you didn’t do any homework, they’re not going to let you go to that tournament because education is the most important thing,” Coupet said. “They look at life differently than most Americans.” 

American superficialities like being picky about food aren’t tolerated in the Coupet home. But more importantly, Coupet took in the environment in the Haitian community on trips to see his father’s family. 

“There are no strangers in Haiti. People know they’re in poverty but they make the most of it. It’s a different mindset. Poverty doesn’t mean anything to them. They have their family and everything’s good,” Coupet said. “I know (my dad’s) been through struggles so baseball struggles on the field, that’s not really anything. You can persevere through everything.” 

Friends and family were affected when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook Haiti in 2010. It gave Isaiah some perspective.

“It was a sad time at the crib when that happened. He couldn’t even visit his family,” he said. 

The Oilmen, who at 13-6 are in second place in the MCL standings as of July 27, offer a chance to experience a college baseball environment before Coupet heads to Ohio State in the fall. He’s throwing to, playing with and against active ballplayers from the next level. 

“I want to be a starter (at Ohio State),” Coupet said. “I’m executing pitches, so I hope to keep that going a little longer.”

Coupet hangs his hat on the curveball. His long-established out pitch is among the best in the MCL, getting a lot of hitters to chase balls outside the zone. 

“I get a lot of swings and misses,” he said. “I love throwing it. If I’m struggling with my other pitches, I can rely on it.” 

Ernst taught Isaiah the pitch when he was young. Ernst played for Bradley University in the 1980s.

“It’s a big league breaking ball. It’s a true 12-6 and it’s got incredible depth. You just don’t see guys really barrel it up a lot,” Oilmen Manager Chris Cunningham said. “When he’s got a real feel for it, you don’t see guys hitting it hard. It’s a legitimate, really good curveball.” 

The ability to change speeds is key for Coupet, Cunningham said. The fastball clocks between 88 and 90 miles per hour. In addition to the ballyhooed breaking ball, Cunningham said Coupet’s changeup is also a plus pitch.

“He’s got three really quality pitches. He’s just a really good pitcher, one of the better guys in the league,” Cunningham said. 

As a player at H-F, the left-hander was one of 50 high school students selected by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball to participate in the Wooden Bat Tournament in Florida in fall 2019.

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