Senior catcher/first baseman/pitcher Easton Braden has been a blessing for Camp Verde High baseball and next year he’ll be a Saint.
Braden signed with Presentation College, South Dakota.
“I picked Presentation because just from talking to the assistant coach it felt like a perfect fit for me,” Braden said. “Something I don’t know what it was, was pulling me there.”
Presentation competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Aberdeen based Catholic school was founded in 1951.
Fellow Camp Verde senior Wyatt Howe considered Presentation before picking Bethany College (Kansas), an Evangelical Lutheran school.
“Just as excited for him as I am Wyatt,” said Camp Verde head coach Will Davis. “These two have been baseball devoted only through out their high school careers, didn’t play other sports they were out everyday during the offseason, the summer, they never missed anything so they just put in a lot of work to get to where they are today and I’ve very proud to see that it’s working out for them.”
This season Presentation played in the Tucson Invitational Games Kino Sports Complex in Southern Arizona.
Braden batted .338, had 25 RBIs, 9 doubles, a home run and scored 13 runs. On the mound, he had a 3.77 ERA, went 1-1 and had 2 saves as he helped lead the Cowboys to a 25-4 record and the region title.
He was first team all-region.
“Very exciting,” Davis said. “Wyatt and Easton both have just put in a ton of work the last four years, on the field and in the classroom to make this dream of theirs an actual reality. I’m very proud of them.”
VVN: How long have you been playing ball?
Braden: I started playing baseball at the age of 4.
VVN: Have you played other sports growing up?
Braden: I played basketball, football and soccer but something about baseball hooked me ever since I watched my first game.
VVN: What is your favorite sport?
VVN: Do you have any favorite baseball players?
Braden: My favorite baseball player that is still playing, Is San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. For a retired player it would have to be Luis Gonzalez.
VVN: Is your goal to play professional baseball?
Braden: Being able to play baseball professionally has been a goal of mine since I was about 9 years old. So yes I’m going to be working my tail off to achieve that goal.
VVN: You caught all four years at CVHS, but only recently started pitching?
Braden: I actually was a pitcher before I was a catcher. All through Little League I pitched and played shortstop. But my first year of Majors with my grandpa’s team the Angels I begin to catch after he asked one day at practice if I wanted to catch. Fell in love with the position. I guess I was born to be a catcher, both my grandpa and great grandpa were catchers while they played baseball. My Great Grandpa was able to pitch for the Cleveland Indians so I’m trying to follow in his steps of becoming a professional baseball player.
VVN: Do you plan to catch in College?
Braden: Yes I plan on catching in college. I might play a little first base or DH every once in awhile. But I’d much rather behind the plate.
VVN: How do you feel you did as a pitcher this year?
Braden: I felt like I did a pretty good. Especially when coach Will put me as a closer, felt like I could just come in and throw hard.
VVN: Do you feel that your experience as a catcher helped you or hindered you as a pitcher?
Braden: It definitely helped me as a pitcher, having the knowledge of knowing what to throw to a batter really helped me up on the mound.
VVN: What pitches do you throw?
Braden” I throw a 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, circle change-up and curve-ball
VVN: Best pitch?
Braden: I believe either my fastball or curve-ball.
VVN: Pitch that needs most work?
Braden: My circle change needs work. Has good movement and a lot slower then fastball but I have no control of it.
VVN: When did you first become interested in baseball?
Braden” I first became interested when I was 2 years old, I was living in Phoenix at the time, I became interested after watching the Diamondbacks in the World Series and seeing Gonzo hit the walk off to win the Series. Ever since then I was hooked on the game. For the past 13 years I’d come home either after school, baseball practice or whatever it was, I’d come home and turn on the TV and either watch a baseball game or I would turn it to MLB Network and watch whatever was on. The love I have for the game is beyond words and I hope and pray I can catch for a professional league team.
VVN: What other things do you do?
Braden: I like to be outdoors either hiking or hunting. I like to go out and either shoot my bow or guns. Also I like to work on any vehicle with my dad. Ranging from changing oil, replacing breaks, etc.