Mark Brady had played 11 seasons of sports at Catonsville High and nobody was looking forward to his 12th and final season on the baseball diamond than head coach Eric Warm.
Brady played in two scrimmages and the coronavirus pandemic struck and forced schools to close before the 2020 regular season began.
“This was supposed to be his year to be the guy and it’s super disappointing that he didn’t get to do it,” Warm said. “He has been starting for us since his sophomore year and he was going to be one of our top pitchers and he was already an All-County shortstop.”
That didn’t stop Brady from being selected as the 2020 Catonsville/Arbutus Times Male co-Athlete of the Year.
Brady shares the award with 2020 graduate Dashawn Dixon.
Brady played JV soccer his first two falls and one JV season each in basketball and baseball.
Even though the soccer and basketball teams struggled this past year, Brady refused to give up.
“Basketball kept me conditioned and soccer helped me with my footwork,” Brady said. “Baseball was my primary sport, so I wanted to focus on that as much as possible, but those two other sports helped me get better at baseball.”
He estimated the longest break he had between seasons was about two weeks.
During his junior year in baseball, Brady batted .443 with 16 RBIs, five doubles, two triples and a home run.
His 24 runs scored led the team. The next closest was Kevin Alberg with 15.
“He got on base,” said Warm, noting he drew nine walks and struck out just four times. “He was putting the bat on the ball.”
Warm, who was an assistant coach to Rich Hambor in 2018, saw Brady mature through the years.
“He started gaining his confidence and he started taking control over the team,” Warm said. “I was using him as an example for the kids coming up.”
Brady started playing baseball when he was six or seven and fell in love with the sport.
“I’ve always liked baseball even though some people think it’s boring,” he said. “I enjoy it, I’ve always loved the game.”
Not having it during the spring made him appreciate getting on the diamond in early July with FTB Mid-Atlantic in the Maryland Collegiate Baseball League.
“I had a little bit of rust,” he admitted. “I hadn’t seen pitching like that in a while, so it was hard to pick it up at first, but I’m starting to get back in the swing of things.”
As a sophomore on the soccer team, he was a central defender with Dexter Weinkam on the Comets JV Baltimore County championship team.
The pair continued playing well together through their senior year.
“We just had that chemistry I guess,” Brady said.
When Brady missed some time with a calf injury and came back as a reserve, coach Brendan Kennedy felt the loss.
“You could tell that we maybe weren’t as vocal or organized when he was off and there was a noticeable difference, especially in the beginning when he was on the bench,” Kennedy said.
When Brady was healthy he made an impact.
“His athleticism and his physicality were kind of really important to us in the middle of the defense,” Kennedy said. “He’s a really good tackler and challenger, so it would allow him to win the ball and not just feed it upward to a midfielder or strike a long ball, but he would be really good at supporting the attack.”
His tenacity allowed him to take opposing forwards out of their game.
“His style of play was something that we expected from all of our players, so he was a good role model for younger guys,” Kennedy said. “He was a tough kid.”
Assistant basketball coach Will Sauble saw the good things he did on the basketball court during a difficult season when wins were hard to find.
“He was definitely a strong player,” Sauble said. “In basketball, no matter where you put him on the court, he was going to be one of your top four guys.”
Brady tried to be a role player during his minutes. “I was of a guy to bring energy to keep everything fluid,” Brady said.
Brady is planning to play baseball at the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville and hopes to attend James Madison University after that.
“He was right on the bubble of statistic-wise of being that guy in college or not to be the guy in college and I, and a lot of the coaches honestly, believe that he can play at the higher level, but it was a matter of him being able to show it,” Warm said.
Although Brady didn’t finish out his final months with his classmates on or off the field, he did appreciate participating in the parade of seniors that drove down Frederick Rd. and ended with a celebration Catonsville High.
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“I liked it,” he said. “I enjoyed it. I thought it might have been better than an actual graduation.”