For months the Tevepaugh family has seen the message light flashing
on their answering machine. They'd press the button and hear: “This is coach (insert name) from (insert university) and I’d like to speak to Brett about playing for our school.” Kenston High senior Brett and father Randy would glance at
each other and smile. Was that a football coach or a baseball coach? They never
knew until they called him back.
Several months ago the Tevepaugh family of Bainbridge would sometimes return home from an outing to see the message light flashing on their answering machine.
They’d press the button and hear the following:
“This is coach (insert name) from (insert university) and I’d like to speak to Brett about playing for our school.”
And, inevitably, Brett and father Randy would glance quizzically at each other and smile. They were both asking themselves the same question: Was that a football coach or a baseball coach? They never knew until they called him back.
Brett Tevepaugh, you see, is a standout in both sports. But though he just broke older brother Ryan’s single-season records at Kenston High School by throwing for 1,619 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2007, he has left little doubt that he is most gifted in baseball.
The four-year starter bats leadoff and plays the pivotal position of shortstop for the Bombers. He’s batting .451 for his career and averaging 34 runs, 26 stolen bases and 29 RBI a season. Tevepaugh outdid himself in 2007, hitting .531 with a .712 on-base percentage to earn Division II first-team all-state honors.
It all started for Tevepaugh athletically in his backyard and on the wide-open playing fields surrounding his Bainbridge home. He and older brothers Josh and Ryan competed in football, basketball, baseball, soccer and even a bit of whiffle ball with the neighborhood kids. Brett was forced to excel in all of the above if he was to remain a participant alongside the older boys.
Otherwise, he would have been nothing more than just a pesky little kid.
“We had a basketball court in our backyard and a nice whiffle ball field at our neighbor’s, plus we had two open fields in our neighborhood,” Tevepaugh recalls fondly. “We had so much fun. I just loved it. I was a tag-along because my brothers are seven and four years older than me.
“I was always playing with the older kids. Whatever we played it was great competition. Whether we were playing football or baseball, they were always throwing harder than me. And I knew I had to continue to get better or the older kids wouldn’t have let me play.”
Boy, did Brett get better. Father Randy, who doubles as his baseball coach at Kenston, recalls watching his youngest son slug three home runs in a game at the youth level in both sixth and eighth grade. To this day, Brett wears out the batting cage his father placed in their backyard.
It took little time for Randy to realize that Brett was destined to follow in his brothers’ cleatsteps athletically. Josh had played basketball at Kenston and excelled as an all-state cross country runner. Ryan not only shined on the gridiron, but was also an all-state shortstop. Brett played that position because he yearned to be just like Ryan.
“I believed he was going to excel,” says the elder Tevepaugh. “He was in such a sports environment. I played baseball in college, his mother was an athlete, and we were always in the backyard pitching to Brett and playing basketball. Brett excelled in baseball at an early age. He began to show a lot of power from the waist down. Ryan and Josh are slender, but Brett is a thicker kid. He’s able to drive the ball.”
He hasn’t been able to drive many Division I college coaches to pique their interest, however, though some have and the University of Akron and several Horizon League schools remain a distinct possibility.
Tevepaugh, meanwhile, is simply trying to maximize his talent while helping the Bombers maximize theirs. They finished 22-6 last year and entered the postseason with aspirations of a state tournament berth. Instead, they fell to Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin in the first playoff game.
That’s one reason the senior prefers shortstop to the outfield, where he played a great deal at the youth level. He enjoys being in the middle of the action.
“I do like playing shortstop better than playing the outfield because you’re involved in more plays,” he says. “I don’t like sitting around and watching other people make plays. It’s not that I don’t trust my teammates, but I feel more comfortable making plays myself.”
And what does such an accomplished hitter work on?
“I pull the ball a lot, so in my batting cage I work a lot on the fundamentals of hitting,” he says. “I’m working on shortening my stride and hitting the ball into the alleys instead of just hitting down the left-field line.”
Tevepaugh has all but discarded the notion of playing football in college unless he lands at a Division III school and is able to compete in both sports. He is also considering a future that includes teaching history and coaching.
And, by the way, he slammed a double and single in his first game this season. Brett Tevepaugh is at it again.