Brasher, Wolves ready to take on Shades Mtn. Christian
by ERICH HILKERT
FAYETTEVILLE—Austin Brasher is commonly known to Fayetteville fans as “Little Brasher.” That’s because he’s significantly smaller than his cousin, Steve Brasher, commonly referred to as “Big Steve” or “Big Brasher” by Fayetteville fans. Austin Brasher said he and Steve Brasher complement each other because they both bring different strong points to the team.

“It’s nice to have him on the team,” Austin Brasher said. “Most people look at the roster and they see the Brasher boys and they’re wondering ‘wow.’ He’s really great and he gets along good with everybody. I just love to be on the field with him. We work together pretty good. He’s got a great bat. I’m better in the field than him at the plate. I feel that since we’re related, he kind of takes up for our family name on the plate and I take it in the field.”

Fayetteville head coach Morris Phillips said he’s seen Austin Brasher take a step forward at the plate over the course of the season.

“Little Brasher has really come around for us here lately, especially with his bat,” Phillips said. “At the beginning of the year he struggled a lot with his bat, but the second half of the season he has come alive and is hitting the ball really well for us. So, I’m really proud of him for that.”

Austin Brasher was pivotal in Fayetteville’s two lopsided playoff victories over Southeastern in the first round of the AHSAA Class 1A Playoffs, playing catcher in game one and earning the win on the mound in the clinching game two.

“The first few innings I wasn’t feeling too confident because the umpire had such a tight strike zone,” Austin Brasher said of his pitching against Southeastern. “But I corrected myself and I started hitting my spots better. I had to slow my pitch up a little bit to concentrate. Once I got it down pat, I could speed back up and I got back in my groove, so I felt really good after I got back.”

Phillips said not to underestimate his value as a catcher.

“He does a really good job of catching for us,” Phillips said. “His biggest job is to catch [Zach] McGrady and that’s a big job because McGrady’s got a couple of nasty pitches that you just can’t throw anybody in there to catch him. He does a real good job of blocking him up and throwing runners out when they do get on.”

Austin Brasher will very likely see more time behind the plate and on the mound this weekend against a familiar opponent: Shades Mountain Christian, a team Fayetteville played three times during the regular season.

Austin Brasher was solid in all three games the Wolves played against Shades Mountain Christian during the regular season, catching McGrady in a 4-1 win, earning a save in a 15-13 win, and pitching strong in relief in a 7-5 loss. He pitched 2-3 innings, giving up one hit and striking out a batter for the save, and he pitched 5 2-3 innings while giving up one earned run on three hits and striking out four batters in the 7-5 loss.

Give his strong outing against Southeastern, Phillips has little doubt Austin Brasher will pitch well again this weekend against Shades Mountain Christian.

“I’m fully confident in little Brasher,” Phillips said. “He’s a battler. He’s a scrappy little guy that loves to get after it. Earlier this year, he had some success against them. The biggest thing is we’ve got to have his back on defense. We can’t boot the ball and not support him. All we can do is ask him to go out there and throw strikes, throw outs for us and play defense behind him.”

Austin Brasher said Shades Mountain Christian will be a formidable opponent.

“They had several good pitchers,” he said. “They have one side-armed pitcher and a knuckle ball pitcher. I feel that our team hit them really well. They’re really competitive, so we’re going to have to hit really good and we’re also going to have to play good defense, error-free.”

At the same time, Austin Brasher has confidence in his team.

“We’ve played against them in three games and I feel we know what they’ve got and we know what they’re going to do, so we should be pretty prepared,” he said. “We’ve just got to practice really hard this week. Like I said, we know what they’re doing, so if we just get our team ready and we go out there and concentrate and focus, I believe we should do really good.”
© 2013