No place like home: Brownstown graduate, baseball standout returns to take reins of Braves’ program

BROWNSTOWN

Brandon Tormoehlen’s baseball journey has come full circle.

While his career on and off the field has brought him across the country, he now calls Brownstown Central High School’s diamond home field once again.

At the most recent school board meeting, Tormoehlen was approved as the next varsity baseball coach at Brownstown.

Tormoehlen, who graduated as valedictorian in 2002, replaces long-time coach John Lawson, who retired this past spring after 18 years of service along with assistant coach Jim Gastineau.

Lawson recommended Tormoehlen to school officials after announcing he planned to leave the program.

“Coach Lawson was the freshman coach when I played,” Tormoehlen said. “Basically, there was a (mathematics) teaching opening at the middle school and coach (Shannon) Barger talked to me about it. I talked to John and asked what the status was of the position and what was going on with him. I knew there might be an opportunity here.”

Tormoehlen, 33, coached against Lawson in the regular season the past two years, as he headed Mid-Southern Conference foe Scottsburg.

“(Lawson) said let’s talk after the season (this past spring),” Tormoehlen said. “In the meantime, I interviewed for the math job and got an offer. I wanted to wait and see what John wanted to do because I didn’t want to just give it up with what I had going at Scottsburg.

“John wanted to leave the program in good hands. He wanted a baseball guy. He told me he would recommend me and resign. I spoke with (Mark) DeHart (athletics director) and it kind of went on from there.”

This summer, Tormoehlen has conducted summer workouts for the Braves’ program.

“They’re a great group of guys that work hard,” Tormoehlen said. “You only have to tell them once or twice and they know what you want. I think a lot of that has to do with them playing other sports. They know that when they come to practice that they’re getting after it.

“I think, too, it has to do with the group of athletes that just graduated here this past year. Those kids worked and had a lot of success, and it fueled them to be just as competitive. They have that work ethic. In just three weeks that I’ve been working, I’ve seen a ton of improvement.”

Assistant coaches on the Brownstown staff thus far include Shannon Barger, Ben Kleber, Paul Borden and Fred Perry.

Philosophically, Tormoehlen expects the team to give maximum effort.

“I’m very intense in practice,” Tormoehlen said. “Practice is where I get to teach and where I get to do my thing. In a game, it’s more of the kids’ test. Can they go out and execute and play pitch-by-pitch. Also, I’m very drill-oriented. Baseball is a game of reps. In a 2.5 hours practice we want to get as many reps in as possible. We speed up practice so the game slows down.”

Tormoehlen, who also played football in high school, is in favor of having multi-sport athletes on the team.

“I’m a multi-sport guy,” Tormoehlen said. “Every college guy I know, from Division I to the junior colleges, loves multi-sport athletes. I’m the same way. Baseball is a grind. You play a lot of games in a short amount of time. You have to be mentally tough.”

He said he looks forward to working with other coaches at BCHS.

“(Football) coach (Reed) May and (basketball) coach (Dave) Benter have done a great job of not only having success on the field and court, but with the way they run their programs — it toughens those kids mentally,” Tormoehlen said. “You can develop an athlete on a basketball court or football field to be a better baseball player.”

Tormoehlen said he’s excited to be back in Brownstown.

“One of that’s cool about this community is that all the little kids come to the football and baseball games,” Tormoehlen said. ‘You sit there watching these (high school) guys as a kid, and you see that red and black. They still see that red and black and it’s ingrained in you. You look forward to putting that jersey on one day. It’s neat for me to see my career come full circle. The community is very supportive. We had a camp two weeks ago with over 100 kids. There’s excitement, and coach Lawson has done a great job of building a successful program.”