Brewer wins Mr. Baseball

Friday, May 27, 2016
Forrest's Alex Brewer (center) poses with his Class A Mr. Baseball trophy along with finalists Bryce Giles from Summertown (left) and Columbia Academy's Scott Lentz. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Forrest's Alex Brewer, a finalist for the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association (TBCA) Class A Mr. Baseball award last season won the honor for 2016 in a ceremony Tuesday morning at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

"It's a remarkable honor, I'm blessed very much," Brewer said. "I really don't know what to say except I want to thank my family and my friends very much for supporting me all these years."

Summertown's Bryce Giles and Scott Lentz from Columbia Academy were the other two finalists in Class A.

Strong field

"Single A baseball in Middle Tennessee has been outstanding this year," Brewer said. "I played travel ball with Bryce and he is an outstanding ball player and even a more outstanding man and Lentz I don't know very much, but to be here means is he also an outstanding player."

Brewer, a Vanderbilt signee currently has a .409 batting average, a slugging percentage of .753 and an on base percentage of .554.

The three-time District 9A MVP has 38 hits, 16 RBI, five homeruns, 11 doubles, three triples, 42 runs scored and has been walked 29 times.

The three-hole batter in the Forrest lineup has honed his skills all over the country, playing for current TBCA vice-president, former Rockets' coach and Pope John Paul II baseball coach Chris Parker for Team Tennessee during his sophomore and junior seasons.

Coaches' help

"I want to thank coach Parker for my freshman and sophomore years, he has helped me in my journey in baseball and for the man I have become today," Brewer said.

Brewer also talked about current Forrest coach Bart Joyce, who took over for Parker last year and guided the Rockets to back-to-back district titles.

"I'm really blessed to have coach Joyce in my life, I look at him as kind of a father figure and he has done an incredible job taking the team as far as we have gone this year."

On the mound

Joyce utilized Brewer's skills in another role this season as the closer and he was magnificent, coming into close ballgames time after time and slamming the door shut.

Brewer pitched 22.2 innings for the Rockets, posting a 3-0 record with five saves, notching a 1.24 earned run average, 44 strikeouts and 11 bases on balls as he surrendered just four earned runs all season.

Forrest made its third state tournament appearance in three years after a 2-0 win over Grace Christian Academy Friday night at Chapel Hill in the state sectional round.

"There is nobody who deserves this honor more than Alex, who puts in all the work day in and day out and year round," Joyce said. "He is the one who calls me, wanting to hit more and more and his outstanding work ethic has paid off with this state award."

Career highlight

One of the highlights of Brewer's outstanding prep career came on May 16, 2014 when he slammed a three-run homerun in the top of the seventh inning in the sectional round at Summertown that sent Forrest to its first state tournament appearance since 2006.

Brewer, along with Joyce know there is unfinished business this week at the Spring Fling as the Rockets look to win the school's first state baseball championship.

"The first thing foremost is to take each game one by one and don't get ahead of yourself," Brewer said. "We are definitely looking for a good run this year."

Forrest's best finish was in 2006 when the Rockets lost 1-0 to McKenzie in the championship game at MTSU's Reese Smith Field, the same spot where Brewer accepted the award on Tuesday.

Aiming high

"This group of seniors got a little taste a couple years ago and now the whole group has the mindset that there is unfinished business, so we just have to go to work tonight at 6:30," Joyce said.

Alex Brewer takes his final swing in a Forrest Rocket uniform Wednesday at the Spring Fling.

Forrest lost 6-3 to Jackson Christian in the opening round on Tuesday and the Rockets were eliminated from the tournament via an 8-2 loss to Goodpasture on Wednesday at Riverdale High School, ending Brewer's stellar high school career that saw the Rockets post a 98-45 record with three Region 5A titles, two District 9A championships, two sectional wins and two Spring Fling appearances in four years.

Brewer was the second Forrest athlete to win a post-season individual this season as his teammate Boone Sweeney garnered the Class A Mr. Football award.