Back on the Mound

Brady Bramlett took another big step on the long road back Friday. He pitched in an Ole Miss intrasquad, starting the game for one of the teams.

Bramlett had shoulder surgery in June, 2013, shortly after his true freshman season. It was obviously going to be a while before he could pitch again.

He had a successful summer of 2014 in Baltimore’s Cal Ripken League after the long year of rehab. Now he’s back with the Rebels for fall intrasquads.

“I felt great. I was proud of my outing,” said the third-year sophomore right-hander from Arlington (Tenn.) High School. “I just tried to focus on pounding the strike zone down at the knees. I think I did a good job.”

So did Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco, who is especially pleased to see Bramlett return.

“He looked strong, and I thought the command was good,” Bianco said. “The zone was kind of tight today. It was nice to see him out there.”

Bramlett started and pitched one and a third innings, allowing two runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout.

“There’s no real way to describe it. I was just so happy to be back on the mound after this past year,” Bramlett said. “I had a good summer, and I just wanted to carry that over into today and this upcoming season.”

Bramlett said he’s kept the faith through his long ordeal, knowing in his heart he would return if he worked to get back as he has.

“I believe everything happens for a reason, so I was positive throughout it all,” he said. “I knew I was coming back. I feel as good as I ever have. Dr. (James) Andrews did a great job of repairing my shoulder. Physically I’ve lost a few pounds in the weight room with Ben (Fleming, the strength & conditioning coach). He’s been kicking our tails. But everything feels good.”

Bramlett had pitched in a few games for the 2013 Rebels and hadn’t always felt completely normal. But in a game at Arkansas State, something was definitely different, especially so the following morning.

“I was sore a lot, and I kind of just dismissed it. But my last outing I pitched was Arkansas State (in late April, 2013). The next morning I woke up, and I couldn’t touch the back of my head. I knew something was wrong,” he said.

Then came the news, subsequent surgery and extended rehab.

And now he’s back, and maybe better than ever.

“I developed a new breaking ball,” Bramlett said. “Developed more of a 12-6 breaking ball, and my slider’s kind of evolved into more of a cutter than a slider. So I was using my breaking ball in the summer primarily to get ahead and dump it in early.”

He likes what he sees from this Rebel pitching staff through several weeks of workouts and now the beginning of fall ball.

“We look strong, we really do,” the 6-foot-4 Bramlett said, who has a fast ball, changeup, breaking ball, and cutter/slider. “We lost some key guys from last year. We have some great new pitchers here. We’re going to be just as good if not better than last year.”

One of the reasons just might be Brady Bramlett.

“It’s a long grueling surgery and rehab process,” Bianco said. “It’s very tedious to where you’ve got to be really dedicated. Proud of him, last year for getting through it and now. Looks like he’s reaping the rewards of that hard work. He looked real strong (Friday). Fast ball looked like it had good life on it.”

Other Notes:

Scott Weathersby started for the other team Friday and went two innings with one run on four hits, three strikeouts and no walks.

Also in the first intrasquad on the mound were juco transfer Sean Johnson (one and two-thirds innings, 4 runs (2 earned) 3 hits, 3 walks and a strikeout; Scott Ashford (two innings, no runs, 1 hit, 1 walk); Jacob Waguespack (two innings, no runs, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts); juco transfer Drake Robison (two innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk); Michel Babb (two innings, no runs, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts); Matt Denny (two innings, no runs, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts, no walks.)

In the second intrasquad of the weekend, Evan Anderson and Christian Trent drew the starts. Anderson went two innings, allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout, while Trent went two innings with no runs on one hit with a walk and a strikeout.

Also pitching in intrasquad two were John Wesley Ray (two innings, 1 run, 3 hits); Moises Castro (two innings, 2 runs on 2 hits with one walk); Wyatt Short (two innings, 2 strikeouts); Will Stokes (two innings, a walk and 3 strikeouts); Blake Bennett (one and two-thirds innings, 4 runs, 7 hits, 1 strikeout); Ryan Leone (two innings, one strikeout); Joe Wainhouse (one inning, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 strikeout).

Top hitters of the weekend were: Colby Bortles (5-for-7, 1 home run, 1 double); Sikes Orvis (4-for-7 with a double and a triple); Tate Blackman (4-for-8, double, 1 home run); Connor Cloyd (3-for-5); Austin Knight had three hits on the weekend; Josh Watkins and Kyle Watson also homered once each; Austin Knight and Joe Wainhouse each had a double.

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