GILBERTVILLE — With an overpowering fastball and a reliable bat, it didn’t take long for Trever Brown to make an impact on Don Bosco’s storied baseball program.
The Kirkwood Community College baseball recruit compiled a 17-1 pitching record as an underclassman and was a key cog in the Dons’ run to the state semifinals his sophomore season. Brown has added a dimension of power at the plate these past two seasons, crushing a total of 14 home runs with 62 RBIs during that stretch.
Unlike the previous three years, Brown has served as a position player nearly the entire summer of this senior campaign. The versatile fielder has played a unique combination of positions from first base to second base to center field while recovering from a shoulder injury that delayed his pitching debut until mid-June.
“Luckily it wasn’t anything serious and I’m just starting to get back into the tune of things,” said Brown, who has struck out 221 hitters versus 51 walks in 188 career high school innings.
Brown’s defensive versatility and bat have helped Don Bosco (19-7) capture the program’s 10th consecutive Iowa Star championship. He’s compiled a .453 batting average this year with a .580 on-base percentage.
“He’s a pretty patient hitter,” Don Bosco coach Blaine Rhoads said. “A lot of times they’ll pick around the plate and maybe they’re OK with walking him and going to the next guy. He looks for his pitch and if he gets it he usually doesn’t miss it.”
In the field, Brown has played third base and shortstop in previous seasons. This year he’s made a seamless transition into work as an outfielder or holding down first base.
“It doesn’t matter to him,” Rhoads added. “He’s like, ‘Coach, whatever you want to do that’s fine with me.’”
The ace pitcher says he’s taken pride in the progress his rotation has made for a staff that holds a 2.36 ERA and is limiting opposition to a .160 batting average.
“When my teammates heard I couldn’t pitch regularly they were kind of bummed out, but I think it was great for us,” Brown said. “We had kids like Kendall Becker, Lewis Havel, Mason Denton and Bryce Shares that really stepped up into their roles. Being there in the field with them is just as critical as me on the bump.”
Rhoads is quick to point out Brown has been a valuable source of information for his teammates during bullpen workouts.
“If Trever’s standing there he’s just as good as another pitching coach,” Rhoads said. “He can watch his teammates and give them advice with mechanics. He’s probably better than most of us coaches on the staff as far as pitching. He’s been around it so much.”
Baseball has always been Brown’s main passion, from playing in the local youth IBL to competing on a traveling Waterloo Heat team. He has spent his high school years in travel ball with the Perfect Game club based out of Cedar Rapids, finding some of the best competition for his age group in the country.
“That’s a real eye-opener for a kid from the Midwest,” said Brown, who features a fastball that has topped out in the high 80s. “You see all these great baseball players from down south like Florida, Texas and Georgia and it kind of puts you in your place and you really get to know how hard you’ve got to work to make your dreams come true.
“You go down there and set your mark. Playing against better competition always benefits you in the end.”
Beyond high school baseball, Brown is looking to continue his development within Todd Rima’s strong Kirkwood junior college program.
“I know Coach Rima has a good group coming in and I’ve played with a lot of those guys throughout travel ball,” Brown said. “When I first went down to visit, it was awesome to see the philosophy those guys had. ... I’m looking forward to developing down there for two years and transferring out somewhere.”
As his final postseason approaches, Brown continues to exude some of the leadership characteristics his senior teammates possessed two years ago during the school’s most recent state tournament run.
“I’ve loved every minute of it and it’s going to be hard next year to not be able to put on the Dons uniform anymore,” Brown said.
Added Rhoads, “It’s honor to coach Trever. He’s a great kid.”