There’s little Braden Berry can’t do on the baseball diamond.
At the plate, he batted .392 with a team-high four home runs and 36 total RBIs. Twelve of his 29 hits went for extra bases, and he added five stolen bases.
“At the plate, he’s a really good hitter,” Savannah head coach Erich Bodenhausen said. “He’s somebody who can drive the ball out of the ballpark at any time, and other teams know that.”
At first base, Berry committed just two errors and helped turn five double plays.
On the mound, the Savannah junior was a workhorse. He led the Class 4 semifinalists with 47 1/3 innings, notching a 2.07 ERA in nine starts. He finished the season 7-1 with 52 strikeouts.
“At this level, having great pitchers is gonna win you a lot of ball games,” Bodenhausen said. “Every time he went out on the mound, you knew you had a good chance to win. You knew he wasn’t gonna walk people, wasn’t gonna give up a lot of hits and he was gonna be a competitor.”
While leading Savannah to a record-setting season, Berry distanced himself from the pack and proved to be the All-News-Press Now Baseball Player of the Year.
“Over the offseason, I knew I threw hard, but anybody can time up a fastball. I was working on my location. I think I reached (expectations),” Berry said. “I wasn’t perfect by any means. I think I reached my goal, but I’m not perfect by any means.”
Getting him the proper direction to improve in the offseason wasn’t hard for his coach, either.
“He’s easy to coach. I’ve got a bunch of kids that are easy to coach,” Bodenhausen said. “Braden fits right in with that. You ask him to do something and he’s all about doing it to the best of his ability.”
Berry said he knows he’s not above the game and is still working on making timely pitches. With a large contingency returning in 2020, the goals are even loftier for the defending Class 4 District 16 champions.
“Everybody needs to just keep working,” Berry said.