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The Heritage High School baseball team is back, as the Patriots are getting ready for a 20-game season that has players and coaches ready for the opportunity that was taken from them after only four games a year ago.
“Extremely excited,” said Heritage head coach Kevin Brannan. “It is a different excitement, though. Typically, at this stage of the season (the run up to tryouts) we are planning 1-2 months out (practice progressions, pitching matchups, etc.). We are just planning and hoping for tomorrow. The good news is that it looks like tomorrow is going to include a baseball season.”
In a year like no other in recent history, the Patriots will be back playing America’s pastime while also starving to get better every day, which has made this program successful this decade under Brannan. The Patriots program has won the BVAL league championship seven times since 2010, made it to NCS playoffs every year since 2009 and most recently made it to the NCS championship game in 2019.
Brannan is the first to give credit to his coaching staff and parents for helping build a winning culutre.
“By and large the staff remains the same year in and year out,” Brannan said. “The messaging is consistent, the expectations are consistent, the accountability is consistent, style is consistent. Also of note is we get very dedicated and supportive parents generally. That goes a long way.”
He also gives credit to his former players and current players that have laid down that winning foundation for many years to come. Brannan has also created strong bonds with his players to install that family atmosphere at Heritage.
“I’m not ‘coach Kevin’ to my players,” Brannan said. “I’m just ‘Kev.’ In my playing days I found the most success because there was no pressure, that what I try to install as a coach being able to throw around my players and tell them where they did wrong. But some days you can probably hear me across Brentwood, but at the end of the day my players know I have their back.”
While the Patriots are lacking experience with only four games under their belts last season, a lot of talent is up and down the roster. Three of Heritage’s seniors – Felix Dominguez, Carson Glavich and Gavin Tonkel – have committed to play baseball at the collegiate level.
Dominguez committed to Minot State in October, Glavich committed to New Mexico Highlands in November and Tonkel will play at Sacramento State.
“The talent is there,” Brannan said. “The experience is not. These seniors played four games and maybe got 15 practices with us last year. It is going to take some patience.”
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