Abraham Lincoln senior Ken Brough has turned his own performance — and his team’s — around.
Ken Brough knew he could do it.
But it took great trust by himself, his coaches and his teammates to get him over the hump.
Brough, an Abraham Lincoln High School senior, was primarily a first baseman when the season began, but the Railsplitters needed a few arms to get them through the season.
Brough had pitched during mop up duty last year, mostly in nonleague games, but he knew he had an arm that could potentially help the team this year.
So he gave it a go. And at first, it wasn’t so good.
“My first game was against Frankford and it wasn’t too good,” Brough said. “But I knew I had what it takes. They’re good and unlike before, I’ve always been able to pitch, physically, but I didn’t have what it took mentally. But after that game, I knew I could do it. And my coaches helped me a lot, both our head coach and pitching coach. They showed me some things that I knew would help.”
It did, but his second outing, while better, didn’t produce the result he was looking for. Lincoln lost to Central, but the Lancers were aided by some Railsplitter miscues in the field.
Since then, it’s been real good.
Brough is 3–3 on the season, and with the exception of his loss to Frankford, every outing has been a quality one.
Brough and his teammates no longer look at him as a spot starter. He’s now one of the aces.
“I feel so much better out there, mostly confidence,” Brough said. “I didn’t really know I’d be doing this, but we really needed pitching so I figured I’d see what I could do. I’m really happy they gave me a chance.
“It helps that I have great coaches and teammates. I’ve pitched pretty well, but we’re all starting to play better as a team.”
The Railsplitters had high expectations coming into the season, but started out 0–4. It didn’t help that their first two series were against Frankford and Central, the two best teams in the Public League. After they ran through those games, Lincoln rung off seven straight victories to get back in the hunt. It’s now 7–5 in Public League play, and that means the playoffs are in its sights.
For Brough, that’s all he can ask for.
“I think when we started out 0–4, people stopped believing in us,” said Brough, who has belted three home runs on the season. “Not really on the team, but in the neighborhood and in the hallways, people didn’t think we would win much.
“It’s changed mostly because we’re playing together. When we play as individuals, we’re not good, but when we’re all playing together, we can beat anyone.”
Brough is doing it on the mound, but just like last year, he’s doing it with his bat.
This year, however, Brough is taking a different approach at the plate. His job is harder now, but he’s adjusting nicely.
“The biggest difference is the pitches I’m seeing,” said Brough, who primarily hits out of the cleanup spot. “You don’t see as many good pitches there. I see a lot of offspeed stuff and a lot of junk. When you get that, you can’t do as much with it.
“I’m trying to take what they give me and do whatever I can with it. I’m not seeing the best pitches, but I’m still doing OK. As long as we are scoring runs, it doesn’t matter how.”
Just like at the plate, Brough has a plan for the future.
Since he arrived at Lincoln, the Holme Circle resident has learned a lot from his baseball coach, John Larsen. And just as he mimics what Larsen taught him on the diamond, he wants to do what he’s learned in the classroom.
Some day, Larsen could have his protege as a peer.
“I want to become a teacher, I know that,” said Brough, who plans on playing next year at Bucks County Community College and would like to eventually transfer to Kutztown University. “I either want to teach autistic kids or become a health teacher and teach health, gym and coach. I want to do either one of those, I’m not sure which.”
Either way, he’ll be following in a role model’s footsteps.
“I have learned so much from Coach Larsen, I’d love to do what he does. He’s helped me so much. And another guy who has showed me a lot is (Michael) Turchi, who runs our Special Olympics. He has so much energy. He comes to school every day and makes it fun.
“I think I would really love to be a teacher. They say if you have a job you love, you never work and I think that’s how I would feel if I was a teacher. That’s what I want to do.” ••