Some seek out pressure packed situations. They want to experience the thrill, or feel the exhilaration. Ja’Heim Brown, a 2021 uncommitted right-handed pitcher out of Louisburg High School in Louisburg, NC, sees these moments as an opportunity to “soak it all in” so that he is constantly being re-equipped to face the next challenge.
According to Brown, he’s been taking in plenty of those opportunities while wearing a Dirtbags uniform since joining the organization in the summer of 2019. But this multi-sport athlete is quick to point out he also values his time on the gridiron, where he has been the starting QB for his high school since his freshman year, and on the hardwood which are also important factors into building his abilities as a competitor.
At 6’1” and 165 pounds, this Dirtbag is the epitome of a competitor. According to his coach, Brent Haynes, who led the Bad Company squad in 2019, he is unmatched in his ability to rise to any occasion.
Haynes said, “Ja’Heim is a kid who doesn’t get rattled and thrives in tough situations. He was our guy that when we got in a tight spot I could go to and know he was going to get the job done.”
But Brown says finding himself in such moments doesn’t really change his demeanor. He considers himself to be very even-keeled both on and off the field. This he says this is intentional in order to help him focus and perform instead of succumbing to emotions.
Another aspect of being a multi-sport athlete to that impacts Brown is definitely “the grind”. While each of the three sports could find many players giving their undivided attention to just one of them year round, Ja’Heim balances the overlapping of the seasons seamlessly. He sees each contest as a another way to learn and likes that each sport offers a different aspect of competing and performing that enhances his productivity in another arena.
Above all it all, Ja’Heim says he appreciates the opportunity each sport has provided him to be a leader, albeit a quiet one. His leadership is done with his effort and attitude as he finds ways to serve his teammates.
When it comes to his academic interests, they are almost as diverse as his athletic endeavors. He loves to express himself through writing and also has a serious interest in being a vet one day. Understand those academic interests will likely play a role when it comes time for Brown to make a college decision – the education piece is a top priority.
While a college decision for Brown will likely center around the educational opportunities the institution has to offer, baseball figures to be a tremendously significant factor. Ja’Heim is quick to point out the importance of the coaching staff and their ability to make a relationship with him.
In mentioning a few schools by name for which he has an interest, it became apparent that each offers a unique component to an equation that makes that program a desired destination. Though he says the recruiting process is in its early stages and he’s just enjoying the game, this kid has a plan.
And if the recruiting is just heating up for Ja’heim, the fastball appears to be heating up too. While he topped out at 86 this past summer, Brown says that as he continues to learn to use his legs more effectively in his delivery, so he’s hoping to touch 90 next spring.
Haynes adds, “Ja’Heim is a strike thrower that goes right after hitters with his fastball and above average slider that gets a lot of swings and misses.”
Not only is Ja’Heim able to play multiple sports but he’s also able to do multiple skills on the diamond – no surprise there. Haynes points out, “He’s also not just a pitcher, but also a slick fielding infielder that did a great job for us at any spot on the dirt.”
And one of the situations Brown says he learned so much from was when he was asked to get a bunt down for his team in a critical situation. He noted it was able to show him how such small tasks can play such a huge role in the game. And he soaked in that knowledge too.
Brown attributes all the growth he’s experienced in just his one year with the Bags to learning from a number of influences. He says he appreciates how the Dirtbags put him immediately in a competitive environment where he could evaluate his own level of play and determine what parts of him game he needed to elevate.
As he put it, being able to “see how the game flows” gave him evidence and examples to strive for in his improvements. More specifically he mentioned the ability to hit spots consistently, learn how to better hold runners, and see the level at which he needs to work to maintain an edge. He also mentioned he was able to better hone processes like warming up, having a long-toss plan, and a pre-game routine.
Brown mentions, “The physical part is there, but now I’m seeing the mental side.”
Translation – he’s “soaking it all in”. Collecting the knowledge. Making ready for the opportunities that are surely coming. And despite what is surely a busy schedule when you consider all the events on his calendar, he won’t miss a single one – because the mental prep will be complete.