06/02/13 — All-Area baseball: Brann named pitcher-of-the-year

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All-Area baseball: Brann named pitcher-of-the-year

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 2, 2013 1:53 AM

Ben Brann discovered the harmony between consistency and maturity during the offseason.

He and his Greene Central baseball teammates certainly benefited from it this spring. The Rams earned a share of the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference championship for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

Brann, fittingly, earned the EPC player-of-the-year award.

"Overall, it was a really good season ... a lot better than I expected it to be," said Brann, who has been selected the 2013 News-Argus All-Area Pitcher-of-the-Year.

"Last year wasn't too great (and) I didn't know how much of a jump I was going to have. There really wasn't too much pressure because I had some tough games that really prepared me for this year."

And some tough memories.

Greene Central head coach Scott Jones recalled occasions where he pulled Brann from the mound in the early innings a year ago. The struggle to locate pitches affected his confidence and hampered his ability to control the game -- his most-favorite part about being on the rubber.

Brann changed his demeanor in the offseason.

He added some bulk to his 5-foot-7, 170-pound frame. The additional muscle increased the velocity on his pitches and helped him develop a better change-up that he confidently threw at any time.

His stamina improved as well.

"I had more control of my fastball and I could throw my change-up during almost any count, plus most of my pitches were going over the plate for strikes," Brann said. "I got some confidence built up inside of me and it just carried on."

Brann carried on, indeed.

A two-year varsity starter, he posted an 8-1 record and 1.27 earned run average in 551/3 innings of work. He threw seven complete games, including five shutouts, and collected 59 strikeouts.

The Rams finished 13-10 overall.

"It gave our team a lift knowing that Ben was there for them, not only when it was a good time, but when he didn't have his best stuff and he sucked it up," Jones said. "That was big for us. They knew he was at least going to pitch to contact, get some ground balls and let his defense work for him.

"I think the boys gained a lot of confidence from that."