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Let’s play 2: Baseball, soccer combo checks few who do each | Sports activities



IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Brody Brecht’s schedule is so full, generally he writes notes to himself to ensure he is the place he must be and when.

The Iowa freshman is working double-duty this spring. He’s a pitcher on the baseball group and a large receiver on the soccer group.

With baseball in season and soccer going by means of spring follow, it is all about time administration.

“You kind of have to prioritize,” Brecht mentioned. “And you also have to make time for academics, because those are important, too. It’s about getting done what you need to get done.”

Brecht is amongst no less than a half-dozen Division I athletes who’re enjoying baseball and taking part in spring soccer concurrently this yr, in line with convention and college sports activities data administrators who responded to an Associated Press survey.

The others recognized to be doing each are Kansas outfielder-running again Devin Neal and first baseman-tight finish Trevor Kardell, Michigan outfielder-linebacker Joey Velasquez, Georgia outfielder-receiver Randon Jernigan, Citadel outfielder-defensive again Dominick Poole and St. Thomas (Minnesota) pitcher-punter Kolby Gartner.

At least one other dozen athletes play baseball and soccer, however had been both injured or not taking part in spring soccer this yr.

Iowa’s Brecht has a excessive ceiling in each sports activities.

Brecht, who’s on a soccer scholarship, was projected as a high-round decide in final summer season’s Major League Baseball draft, however he made it clear he needed to play two sports activities for the Hawkeyes.

“He’s a mature kid and he handles his business off the field extremely well,” Iowa baseball coach Rick Heller mentioned.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder from Ankeny was the 2021 Gatorade state highschool baseball participant of the yr and has established himself within the Hawkeyes’ bullpen. He’s 1-2 with a 2.65 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 17 innings over 11 appearances. His fastball has topped 100 mph 21 occasions this season.

In soccer, he was a two-time first-team all-state choice and as a senior was a 247Sports composite three-star recruit. He did not seem in a soccer recreation for the Hawkeyes final season, largely due to a thumb damage that set him behind, however he is in competition for a beginning broad receiver job this fall.

“It would be easy for him to say, ‘Coach, I can’t make it this morning. We had a late (baseball) trip last night, can’t make it, see you all the next day,’ ” broad receivers coach Kelton Copeland mentioned. “That’s not Brody. Brody’s at every meeting, Brody’s at every practice he can be at.”

There is a balancing act with baseball and spring soccer occurring on the identical time.

Brecht’s soccer work within the spring is non-contact, however he does undergo weight coaching, conferences with coaches and route operating drills with the opposite receivers and quarterbacks.

“When he can, when he’s out there, he’s practising with us,” Copeland said.

Raimond Braithwaite, the football team’s strength and conditioning coach, understands the challenges Brecht faces and is flexible. Some days Brecht will tell Braithwaite that the baseball team will return from a road game in the wee hours and that it might be better for him to sleep instead of doing a football weight workout that could start as early as 6 a.m.

“That makes a ton of sense,” Braithwaite mentioned, including that it could be counterproductive for an athlete in Brecht’s place to overextend himself bodily. “So we have to be very intelligent in what we do with him.”

Brecht has progressed well in his first season of college baseball. He struck out seven in four innings against Ball State in his first appearance, and in his first home game his first three pitches clocked over 100 mph.

Brecht has been at his best the last two weeks, allowing one hit while striking out 16 in 8 1/3 innings.

Brecht’s two-sport success started in high school. He was 10-0 with a 0.56 ERA as a senior, striking out 126 in 61 1/3 innings in leading Ankeny to the Iowa Class 4A state semifinals in 2021. That came after a football season in which he had 42 catches for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping Ankeny win the 2020 Class 4A state championship.

Brecht’s schedule will be busy in the summer, too.

He considered playing baseball in the Cape Cod League, but that would have kept him out of the football team’s summer workouts. So he will remain on campus for football workouts and drive 90 miles on days he’ll pitch for the Clinton LumberKings in the Prospect League.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Brecht said. “I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t having fun and if I didn’t love it. But I’m having fun.”


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