Sporting a modest build, at 5’10”, 200 pounds, 19 year-old Jerrod Bravo doesn’t stand out at first glance, but once the baseball game starts, it may seem that he’s ahead of the pack.
In fact, Bravo’s leading the Panthers in many of their batting statistical categories, including: slugging and on base percentage, runs-scored, hits, extra-base hits, and total bases. He also leads the team,and is seventh in the state, in batting average.
Bravo is also tied for first in stolen bases and ranks third on the team in runs batted in. So far this season he’s also only been held hitless in three games and has had multi-hit games in seven of the team’s first 15 games.
Interim Head Coach Derek Sullivan, who’s led the Panthers to a 7-8 record, says so far Bravo has done what he’s expected from him.
“[Bravo] works really hard. He’s very smart on the baseball field. As a hitter he’s selective,” says Sullivan. “He’s opportunistic, he’s smart, he works hard and he plays hard.”
Bravo, who began playing baseball at age eight, which was around the time he moved to El Dorado Hills from San Jose, recalls being signed up for the sport, without much consent, by current teammate, Marc Fackrell’s father, who was the coach of his little league team.
“His dad signed me up and I didn’t really feel like playing but I ended up liking it,” says Bravo. “After a while, I started liking it and just kept playing. I just stuck with it.”
Bravo, undeclared major, has played multiple positions this season, including catcher, but he says his most comfortable position is third base. He attended Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs,
Bravo says he enjoys the game and that it’s almost indescribable to explain his bond to the sport.
“I love playing and competing,”says Bravo. “I just fell in love with it.”
This season, he adds, Bravo says he feels his team is still coming together and they’ll start winning more games.
“I feel like we’re solid.We’re playing hard and things will fall our way,” says Bravo. “Right now we’ve been playing good teams so it’s tough to look at our record and say we’re doing that good.”
Teammate Dan Sayles, 21, communications major, says he thinks that Bravo is a good fit for the team.
“He’s a great teammate. [He’s] there to pick you up. He always has a positive attitude,” says Sayles. “He always [has] a smile on his face.”
When he’s watching Major League Baseball, Bravo is a Boston Red Sox fan and says his older brother, Travis, was the one who got him into the team. In his free time, he also tries to hang out with friends and family, but says during the season it’s hard to make time. During the last off-season he also played another sport for fun.
“I played some slow-pitch softball,” said Bravo. “[It] was a good time. No worries, stress free.”
With the baseball season not even halfway done, Bravo says he isn’t trying to look too far ahead and is just looking forward to the rest of his team’s games, although he says he is definitely aiming to
keep playing, with no preference as to where, as long as he can continue.
“[I’m] just kind of riding this for as long as I can go,”says Bravo. “Hopefully it takes me somewhere [and] I can keep going to school.”