COLUMBUS – Monday, June 18th became a significant day for 2016 Westerville North graduate, Brent Todys. This was the day when Todys would realize that his hard work and much of the sacrifice he has made during the past two years was finally going to pay off. This was the day when the Ohio State University would offer Brent the opportunity to continue his college education and play baseball for the Buckeyes.
Brent’s head coach at Westerville North, Sean Ring, had this to say about his former player, “Brent was a transformative player at North. His impact will be felt for years to come because of his successful work ethic and charismatic personality. I am not surprised in the least that Brent is experiencing success at the collegiate level because of his passion for the game and confidence in his abilities.”
The journey to get from Westerville North to the Ohio State University has been an eventful one for Todys. This will be the fourth college/university he has attended since graduating high school, but each transfer has helped to get him a little closer to where he wants to be. Some dreams take more time and work to come true than others and you can often tell how badly an individual wants it by what he is willing to do to go and get it. Brent Todys’ journey began during the spring of his senior year when he signed a letter of intent to continue his education and baseball career at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio. There was excitement for Brent to achieve his dream of playing college baseball, but that dream began to change during the summer between graduation and actually stepping foot on the MVNU campus.
With the help of Don West, the father of current Ohio State Buckeye baseball player Noah West, Todys landed a dream summer job for anyone who is a baseball enthusiast. It was during that summer that then eighteen year old Brent Todys would find himself as the bullpen catcher for the Columbus Clippers minor league baseball team. The experience of being surrounded by such dedicated professional baseball players ignited something within Brent and inspired him to strive to play at an even higher level of baseball than what he had chosen.
Many lessons were taken away from the time he spent with the Columbus Clippers during that summer. Todys gives a lot of credit to then Clipper first base coach, Omar Santos, for helping to teach Brent how to build routines to prepare himself both physically and mentally for the grind of playing baseball at a higher level. The entire experience of interacting with other athletes who appreciate the game and love it the way Brent does was invaluable. One might even say this was a life changing experience that helped Brent to understand himself and what he wanted – not to just play college baseball, but play it at the highest level that he could.
His experience of being part of the baseball program at MVNU during the fall semester of 2016 left Brent still wanting more. He found that his desire to continue to grow and improve the craft of being a high level catcher wasn’t being fulfilled. MVNU did not have a dedicated coach for catchers at the time and this led to Brent’s difficult decision to take a gamble by transferring to another school that might help him to continue improving at his position.
That gamble led to Brent’s new home at Wallace Community College of Dothan in southeastern Alabama. The head coach at Wallace Community College was Mackey Sasser, a former professional catcher who played in the MLB from 1987 to 1995. Everything seemed to be going in Brent’s favor with his new found opportunity to learn and grow from a mentor who played his position at the very highest level.
Unfortunately, this is also when things took an unexpected turn. As Brent settled into his new school and team, he became aware that he would be ineligible to take part in any games in the upcoming spring season at WCC. This was due to the fact that he had taken part in NAIA accountable games during the fall semester while enrolled at MVNU. This was an oversight by all parties involved in the transfer process as Brent was originally told there would be no issues with his transfer.
Frustrated by the circumstances that prevented him from being able to take part in what was supposed to be his first year playing college baseball, Brent continued to work hard even though he was unable to take part in games. This also resulted in the need to transfer schools again prior to the 2017-2018 academic year in order to assure himself some playing time during the next season. This second transfer landed Brent at Andrew College in Cuthbert, Georgia and was made possible through some personal networking between the coaches at Wallace Community College and the coaches at Andrew College.
The journey now seemed to be back on the right track again, but Brent knew he needed to make the most of his time at Andrew College because it was a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and its mission is to promote and foster two-year college athletics. Brent was only going to get one season to prove himself worthy to NCAA schools while at Andrew College because his first year of eligibility was completely lost due to participation in the fall games back at MVNU.
Andrew College ended being a great fit for Brent though. He was able to really focus on what he needed to do to improve his skills. Brent states, “I give a lot of credit to Andrew College head coach Blake WIlliams for trusting his players to handle individual responsibilities towards preparation and development.” Todys also described how he built a strong partnership with Andrew College assistant baseball coach Zac Cole, who really helped to refine Brent’s preparation routines and strengthen his individual skills.
In the spring of 2018, Brent Todys was finally able to play in his first full season as a collegiate athlete. To put it simply, he made the most ofit and participated in a total of 55 games for the Andrew College Fighting Tigers. His batting average was an impressive .353 on 67 hits including twenty doubles, two triples, and six home runs. He made it into the career record book twelve times in his one season including 2nd all time in doubles and total bases. He also leaves with the school’s all time highest slugging percentage (.574).
At the end of the season and arrival of the summer of 2018, it also meant it was time for the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player
Draft on June 4th. This is an active time for many major university baseball programs as players are drafted and if they accept and sign with professional teams, it leaves holes in collegiate rosters that need to be filled. This is an opportunity for qualitiy players in the NJCAA to make the jump into credible NCAA baseball programs to fill those vacancies.
During this year’s MLB draft the Ohio State Buckeyes lost two potential catchers for next season.
The Colorado Rockies selected Ohio State junior catcher, Jacob Barnwell in the 22nd round (666th overall). Barnwell was the Buckeye starting catcher during each of his sophomore and junior seasons and was on the Johnny Bench watch list this past season. Also getting picked up in the draft was one of next year’s incoming freshman, Keegan Fish, who was drafted in the 13th round by the Miami Marlins and signed with the club on June 13th.
With the absence of these two players from next year’s roster in the Ohio State Buckeye baseball program, the team needed to fill the roster vacancies and this would lead to the opportunity that Brent Todys had been dreaming about. Todys was already in talks with Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State this summer and was actually offered a full tuition scholarship by Georgia State University, but that was all before the Ohio State University came knocking on his door. The opportunity to fulfill a dream in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio while wearing a Buckeye uniform proved to be the option that would prevail over all of the others. After leaving his summer collegiate team to make an official visit to the Ohio State campus, Brent’s mind was made up and it became official on June 18th when he signed his letter of intent to be a Buckeye from here on out.
The Ohio State University has more than just a great baseball program, it has strong academic programs, too. This was another thing that helped draw Todys back to Columbus along with being around family and friends. Brent’s former high school coach, Sean Ring also had this to say about Brent’s decision from an academic standpoint, “It’s been a pleasure watching him (Brent) grow off the field as well, helping to guide him in his passion for teaching and coaching has been a blessing. I’m excited to get to watch him live out his dream and play for the scarlet and gray.”
Todys will major in education in both mathematics and science as he prepares himself to someday become a teacher. He is excited to come back to the Columbus area and hopes that he can help to motivate and inspire other young baseball players to reach their goals.
When asked what kind of advice he could offer younger players still dreaming of playing at a higher level, Brent had this to offer, “It sounds like a cliché, but it is the hard work you put in when nobody else is watching that counts. It’s that self-accountability to do the work even when you don’t want to that helps you reach your goals.”
It is very rewarding to see our students and athletes achieve their goals and beyond. Brent Todys is just one example of a former Westerville North Warrior who continues to push himself to get what he wants out of life. The hard work and the sacrifices he has made along his journey are what make it all worth it in the end. We look forward to seeing Brent play for the Buckeyes in the 2018-2019 season and wish him the very best of luck! #wearewarriors
Three things that Brent Todys says have had the most influence on him:
1) His belief in God – Having faith in this journey God has put him on.
2) Support of his family – The trust his parents have shown by allowing him to make the choices that pertain to his future.
3) All past coaches for the support and accountability – pushing him to get better while still allowing him the ability to learn at his own pace.