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Brolsma makes guest appearance for Bighorns

Brolsma makes a guest appearance in Bighorns’ win

By Charles Whisnand

Appeal Sports Editor

A surprising- but-familiar -looking face took the mound for the Nevada Bighorns on Sunday night.

It was 2003 Carson High School graduate Owen Brolsma, who pitched the final inning of relief for the Bighorns in their 16-0 win over the South Tahoe Emeralds at Ron McNutt Field. Brolsma took the mound as part of his effort to prepare for his final season of college baseball.

After being part of the University of Nevada program for the past four years, Brolsma will spend his final year at another school. Brolsma said Nevada has granted him a release, so he’s looking to catch on with another school for his senior year.

“I’m just out looking for my next stop,” Brolsma said.

Brolsma has been playing for the Reno Astros this summer, but with the Astros off until Friday, Sunday’s game gave him a chance to pitch. While Brolsma says he still sees himself mainly as a catcher, he’s pitching again to give him the best possible chance to play wherever he goes.

“I’m just going to play out this summer and see what happens,” Brolsma said. “I haven’t talked to anybody. I’m just probably trying to figure out who I am and what I’m doing.”

While Brolsma doesn’t know where he’ll end up, he said he definitely wants to play wherever it is.

“I’m not worried about that,” said Brolsma, commenting that he would be willing to play for a Division-II as well as a Division-I school. Brolsma said he is concerned about “what is going to be the best fit.”

Since he’s been granted his release from Nevada, Brolsma will be able to play next year at whatever school he attends. The NCAA rule that will force baseball players who transfer from one Division-I program to another won’t be enforced until August 2008.

As a freshman at Nevada, Brolsma became one of the team’s most effective relief pitchers before Tommy John surgery forced him to miss the 2005 season. He came back to pitch again in 2006 before making the decision to switch back to catcher, the position he played in high school, this past season. Brolsma was Nevada’s backup catcher this past year.

“I just need a fresh start somewhere else,” said Brolsma on why he left Nevada. “I didn’t have the success that I wanted to.”

Brolsma said he can’t put the blame “somewhere else,” but has to “look inward” on why he didn’t have the success he wanted at Nevada.

On Sunday, Brolsma was understandably rusty after taking the mound for the first time in a real game since the 2006 Western Athletic Conference Tournament. Brolsma walked the first batter he faced on four pitches.

But he struck out the next two hitters and retired the final batter on a soft liner to end the game. Brolsma was consistently throwing in the 88-91 mile-per-hour range – impressive for a guy who hadn’t thrown in a real game in over a year.

While Brolsma will continue to play for the Astros, he said he’d be willing to pitch for the Bighorns again if the chance presented itself.

BIGHORNS ROLL

All of the Bighorns pitchers were impressive against the Emeralds. Starter Eric Melendez allowed two hits while striking out four over four innings. Darren Boone didn’t allow a hit and struck out six over three innings while Billy Moss pitched a scoreless eighth.

Adam Anderson had four hits, including a double, Josh Caron had three hits, Steve Mays, Aaron Henry and Pete Rogan all had two hits, Daniel Eastham tripled and Jeff Young and Shane Kockenmeister each had a hit for the Bighorns, who play again at 7 p.m. Tuesday against the Nevada Capitols at McNutt Field.

Contact Charles Whisnand at cwhisnand@nevadaappeal.com or at 881-1214.