Tuning up for a Friday debut in the Division III sectional, Coldwater packed away its 30th MAC title in baseball, as well, as the hands of Marion Local.
Coldwater – As a number, it was just another win for Coldwater in the long history of Cavalier baseball – of so many great names, great players, coaches, and of course, the six state titles.
But their 7-2 win Monday over MAC rival Marion Local was significant in another sense, one that meant as much to Brian Harlamert as any achievement prior to his tenure as coach. It marked their 15th win of the year, their 7th MAC win of the year; and even more, it marked the clinching of their 30th MAC baseball title going back to the Cavaliers’ debut in the conference – 40-some-odd years, depending on who you ask.
In an error-strewn affair that saw Marion commit 4, and Coldwater 2, the Cavaliers jumped on Marion starter Kendall Bruns for a pair of unearned runs in the first, added to that as subs entered the game over the next five innings and positions were juggled…as Harlamert tried to get enough work for his starters, including pitcher Dylan Thobe, to prepare for Friday’s tournament opener at Memorial Field.
Marion scored its only two runs in the third inning, and from that point the game became an issue of winning for the host Cavaliers, but participation, as well. Your 30th title, of course, doesn’t come along every day.
They don’t keep records for things like this in high school baseball, or at least most don’t; but years from now someone may find it written that the pitcher of record for the Cavaliers’ Monday milestone wasn’t starting pitcher Dylan Thobe, or even Jacob Wenning, who closed by pitching the final two innings. But rather, it was one as significant for what he brings to his team through attitude and personality as he does on the pitching mound. Senior Dylan Brosher pitched the third, fourth, and fifth innings to gain the title win…and etch his name in at least someone’s record book.
His line was nothing for Cooperstown, mind you. He struck out two, and allowed a pair of earned runs in the third. Brosher, you see, is more appreciated for being the voice of the bench than being All-League, and that suits him just fine. He provides that certain “twist” that other similarly talented teams often lack. He can heckle, he can make you laugh, and he’s omni-popular with teammates. All that, and he can play a little, too.
“He’s actually 3-1 this year, and has a save,” said Harlamert afterwards. “He’s good. He’s our good humor man on the bench, but he’s crafty, too. And, he’s a senior, and our seniors had a lot to do with us winning the MAC this year after we were picked pre-season to be the third or fourth best team in the league. It’s a tribute to the program and our seniors for how they battled to win this title.”
If you pay attention, he’s always the guy standing at the railing in the dugout making noise, and letting his teammates know that someone on the bench is paying attention to their efforts – urging them on.
“Actually, though,” said Harlamert, “…he might have the most innings of anyone on our staff. I’m not positive, but we have several guys who just like to compete and are always ready to go in there. Dylan’s one of them.
“He’s a guy who played on our JV team last year as a junior. But he’s got such a great attitude…and he works hard. He’s not a great athlete, he doesn’t hit very often – he may have three at bats all year. But he just does his thing. Some would call him a jokester because he’s good at keeping guys loose, but he’s a team leader because of his energy. He does such a great job with our bench guys, on and off the field.”
He’s a lot of bluster, alright, perfectly at home in his chosen contributions off the field. But just as impressive, he pitched Monday like he knew what he was doing – spotting his fastball, changing speeds, and simply pitching to contact. Marion hitters got their hacks, but more often than not they hit the ball at a Coldwater glove.
Ironically, with a microphone in his face, Dylan Brosher reddens a bit and becomes the perfect spokesman for Coldwater baseball, appreciative of the history, and perfectly trained to deflect any and all attention to a collective effort.
“This makes 15 wins for us now,” he said proudly, with a broad grin. “They said we’d be decent at the start of the year, but no one ever thought we’d be MAC champs.”
A blind man could have sensed his enjoyment of the moment, for having contributed to a win that meant so much to his team and teammates past and present. After all, competitors are proudest when given a chance to compete.
“I just come out to have fun,” he admits. “I mean, I really enjoy this, to be with all these guys and the coaches. Everyone together just makes it fun and we have a good time together. If you get a chance to play you just have to go out there and try to do your thing, focus the best you can, but most of all you just try to have fun. ”
To give you an idea of what baseball means at Coldwater, and to Dylan Brosher…it’s the only sport he plays in a school brimming with three-sport athletes, and many that are exceptional in more than one. Brosher is not one of them. Baseball is all he plays. Baseball is EVERYTHING to him.
“I played golf for a while,” he corrects. “But I quit after my junior year to just play baseball…and try to get into better shape. I got a ways to go there,” he laughs. “But I’m better than I used to be.”
And to his coach’s praise for taking his role as a senior seriously, Brosher is Phi Beta Kappa in the Coldwater code of doing business.
“It’s such a great tradition (baseball) here. We came out this year following last year’s class, and we had a players’ meeting because we wanted to make this year about something we do, not just what someone else has done in the past. So today’s win has made that happen. We have our own MAC title now.”
And the pitcher of record for the program’s 30th title (according to formal baseball rules) is a fact that no one can take away from Dylan Brosher.
“It’s a good feeling, but we’re a team,” he smiles. “A lot of hard work in the off-season, but like I said…we’re a team and we’ve done this together.”
Which even Lou Brunswick, who at 87 can still tell you something about every one of those 30 titles – and even more about their six state championship – will think about and smile appreciatively. Titles are nice.
But a title with a twist like Dylan Brosher…makes everybody smile.