By Annie Papadellis/Web Reporter
Known for the esteemed hockey hair cut, legendary Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks, and of course, Walt Disney’s hockey series The Mighty Ducks; it’s not everyday you see a Minnesotan choose a bat and mitt over skates and a hockey stick, but this Minnesotan is one of a kind.
Brent Stong grew up playing both baseball and hockey in Andover, Minn., however, when he was 14-years-old, Stong decided that hockey was merely a hobby, while baseball was his passion.
“I always knew I was a little better at baseball,” Stong said. “In high school I was playing baseball in the spring, summer and fall… Hockey just became a winter thing.”
Hockey certainly became a thing of the past as the left-handed pitcher went to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., to play Division I baseball for the Braves. His freshman season he was the leading pitcher for Bradley with a 3.60 ERA in 15 game appearances, and was the only pitcher on the Braves to have a winning record at 4-3.
Stong’s impressive talent on the mound back at school has translated to the humid nights on the mound in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He is one of the top-five pitchers on the Commodores with a solid 2.70 ERA as of July 18. In 13 1/3 innings of work, Stong has 11 strikeouts and surrendered only four earned runs.
Pitching in the Cape League amongst the best in the nation is undoubtedly an achievement in itself, yet the summer reliever remains calm and focused with more individually tailored short-term goals in mind.
“I am trying to work on ‘pitching,’” Stong said. “Reading hitters, slowing the game down, being in command of what is going on, and being confident doing it.”
This past week, the Stong family traveled to Cape Cod to see the Commodores in action. Brent reunited with his twin brother and college teammate, Nate Stong, in the bullpen for the first time since Nate’s Tommy John surgery. Despite the short visit, Stong enjoyed his brother’s company as they caught up and threw like old times.
“In high school I always had him catch for me, so it was fun to have him back there behind the plate in the bullpen.”
If Stong remains robust in relief out of the windup, the Commodores could finally take home some hardware.