By STEVE KRAH
Brandon Tormoehlen viewed baseball from behind the plate at Brownstown (Ind.) Central High School and Butler University.
This perspective has helped him as a coach.
“Being a catcher, you had to know what everybody else was doing in different situations,” says Tormoehlen, who was honorable mention all-state and a participant in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series in 2002 and how heads into his second season as Brownstown Central head coach in 2019.
Tormoehlein teaches engineering and math classes during the day, serves part-time with the Indiana National Guard and tries to get his Braves to amass numbers on the scoreboard at baseball game time.
“We try to eliminate reasons for losing,” says Tormoehlen. “We try to be solid in all aspects of the game. We don’t take a big emphasis on batting average or strikeouts. We try to get as many runs as we can.”
BC figures out the best way to attack on a particular days — stealing, bunting or hitting away — and then does it.
Brownstown Central (enrollment 573) is a member of the Mid-Southern Conference (with Austin, Charlestown, Clarksville, Corydon Central, Eastern of Pekin, North Harrison, Salem, Scottsburg and Silver Creek).
“It’s a pretty good baseball league,” says Tormoehlen. The MSC champion is determined by nine regular-season games. Each teams plays the others once on Mondays and Thursdays.
The Braves are part of an IHSAA Class 3A sectional grouping with Charlestown, Corydon Central, North Harrison, Providence, Salem, Scottsburg and Silver Creek. Brownstown Central has won two sectionals — the last in 2016.
Tormoehlen came back to Brownstown after two seasons as head coach at Scottsburg.
Before that, he was pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., for two seasons on the staff of Matt Tyner.
“He was a great player’s coach,” says Tormoehlen of Tyner, who is now head coach at Towson University in Baltimore. “He had great relationships with all our players and recruits.”
As an NCAA Division II school, Bellarmine would sometimes see players come back to them if things didn’t work out at the D-I level.
Tyner also gave his assistants the freedom to develop their own coaching styles.
“I was running practices from the defensive standpoint and pitchers exactly the way I wanted to do them.”
Before Bellarmine, Tormoehlen served two seasons as an assistant working with catchers and hitters at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Ed Servais was head coach of the Bluejays.
“He was a defensive genius,” says Tormoehlen of Servais. “The scouting we did was very, very in-depth.”
Play-by-plays were printed off by Tormoehlen. From those, Servais and his staff were able to get spray charts and read the tendencies of opposing coaches.
That kind of data is not available at the high school level and the sample size is much smaller.
Tormoehlen also saw Servais run practices a high speed.
“They were very intense and very fast-paced,” says Tormoehlen. “It’s something I’ve done ever since.
“The goal is to get in as many reps as you can in a 2- or 2 1/2-hour time frame. As far as developing players, I’ve not seen a better model.”
Tormoehlen spent one season as an assistant guiding catchers, hitters and outfielders at Indiana Tech on the staff of Kip McWilliams.
With varsity and junior varsity squads, the Warriors carried 52 players.
“That took practice organization to manage those type of numbers,” says Tormoehlen. “(McWilliams) was a great organizer as well.”
Prior to that, Tormoehlen was junior varsity coach for a season at Noblesville (Ind.) High School, a program led by Justin Keever.
“I was 23 at the time, but he let me coach,” says Tormoehlen of Keever. “He didn’t micro-manage at all. He said, ‘you’ve got the JV team and they’re yours.’
“I let my coaches coach (Brownstown Central),” says Tormoehlen. “They’re there for a reason. Give them their duties and let them go with it.”
The 2019 BC staff features Shannon Barger, Fred Perry and Paul Borden with the varsity plus Cole Borden and Jase Hunnicutt with the junior varsity. Cole Borden played at Saint Joseph’s College.
Steve Farley was head coach at Butler when Tormoehlen played for the Bulldogs (2003-05, 2007). A medical redshirt for the 2006 season due to shoulder surgery, the catcher played his last collegiate season while also taking graduate classes.
“Coach Farley is just a great human being,” says Tormoehlen. “He lived his life the right way as far as priorities. He was a great role model and made sure as a college athlete, we were doing that same. There was faith, family, education then your baseball career.
“It’s something I stress with my guys.”
Recent BC graduate Ian Martin is at Vincennes University. Current Braves senior Seth Borden (son of Paul and brother of Cole) has been receiving interest from college baseball teams.
Steve Schrink was head coach at Brownstown Central when Tormoehlen was a player.
“He was a great people person and a player’s coach,” says Tormoehlen. “He always had a really good relationship with his players.”
Tormoehlen tends to keep 24 to 26 players in the program. These players get to use and care for a facility that just keeps getting better.
Located in a valley behind the school, the field recently had a brick backstop cut into the hill with big poles inserted for backstop netting. New dugouts have been added.
By next year, the Braves plan to have a building that houses a new press box, concession stand and restrooms. Plans are call for the installation of 130 to 140 stadium seats.
This fall, the field received a turf insert around the home plate area. The field was also leveled to send drainage outside the foul lines. The plate area had been the lowest part of the field and that’s where water collected when it rained.
“Many teams in our area are doing it,” says Tormoehlen of the insert. “Cost-wise, it pays for itself after a few years. You save money on clay, Turface and time.”
Feeding the high school is a middle school club program — Brownstown Braves Baseball. It includes seventh and eighth grade teams taking players from Brownstown Central Community School Corporation as well as Lutheran Central School in Brownstown and St. John’s Sauers Lutheran School in Seymour. BBB plays 18 to 22 games in the spring.
Players also play travel baseball in the summer for teams based in Brownstown as well as Bloomington, Louisville and elsewhere.
John and Brenda Tormoehlen’s have four children. All are married. Brooke Cahill is the oldest, followed by Brandon. His wife, Mallory, graduated from Greenfield-Central High School in 2005 and Indiana Tech in 2009. She played softball for the Warriors.
The two youngest girls are Jaclyn Jackson and Whitney Fritz.
The center field view of the baseball field at Brownstown (Ind.) Central High School.
Brownstown (Ind.) Central High School put a turf insert around the home plate area of its baseball field. This saves cost and time.
Mallory and Brandon Tormoehlen share a moment at Brandon’s Indiana National Guard boot camp graduation. Brandon Tormoehlen is a teacher and head baseball coach at Brownstown (Ind.) Central High School.
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