Jeff Brown didn’t become the leading hitter in Wittenberg baseball history by storing his bats for the winter.
“Whenever we had an opportunity we’d go to Forever Sports,” Brown said.
Forever Sports had indoor batting cages where Brown and his teammates, including current Wittenberg coach Jay Lewis, used to hone their swings.
“We were one of the harder working groups probably,” Brown said. “We did a lot more practicing than playing.”
Brown batted a school record .426 for his career. As a senior in 1992, he led all three NCAA divisions with a .500 batting average and was named an NCAA Division III All-American. Brown’s feats make him one of five former Wittenberg athletes who will be inducted into the school’s Athletics Hall of Honor in October.
“It was a nice surprise,” Brown said Monday.
Joining Brown in this year’s class are Jeanette Baier Gould (1991), Scott Copeland (1986), Eby Day (1985) and Eleanor Roller (1950).
During Brown’s four years, the Tigers averaged 24 wins. He was a part-time starter for two years under Tim Kelly, who is now a scout for the New York Yankees. He was the everyday first baseman as a junior and senior under Rick Willis, now a successful football coach at Wartburg College in Iowa.
“(Willis) was a big part of it,” Brown said. “He was a player’s coach and allowed us to play. Looking back at it, I think he did a great job.”
Brown, a 1988 North High graduate, came to Wittenberg to also play football. But after a broken leg his sophomore season he stuck to baseball.
Brown majored in history and began teaching in Springfield in 1997. He is a history teacher at Keifer Alternative School. He also started a bail bonds business in 1997 and has offices in Dayton and Springfield and agents working in 20 other locations in Ohio.
Baier Gould played goalkeeper in field hockey and holds the school single-season and career records for saves by wide margins. She was team MVP in 1990 and earned all-region honors three times. In lacrosse, Baier Gould was first-team all-region as a senior.
Copeland was a two-time All-American golfer and played in the national tournament four times. He led the Tigers to Ohio Athletic Conference championships in 1985 and ‘86. He was the OAC medalist in ‘86.
Day held the singles victory record at 44 for 20 years and led the Tigers to numerous state and conference titles during her career. Her .936 winning percentage is second-best in school history. She played in two NCAA national tournaments.
Roller, who died in 2003, played field hockey and baseball as a groundbreaking athlete at Wittenberg. She went on to teach physical education for 35 years and was chosen for “Who’s Who of American Women” from 1966 to 1971.
The honorees will be inducted at a banquet on Oct. 11 and introduced the next day at halftime of Wittenberg’s homecoming football game against Denison.