Bunnell sophomore Brett Batka has stepped up before his time.
A former hockey player, who gave up the ice for the pitcher’s mound, Batka has honed his craft by playing a lot of travel ball, most recently for Baseball University and it’s paying for the Bulldogs this season.
With an injury to a senior starter, the right-handed Batka has become the de facto ace of the Bunnell pitching staff this spring, running his record to 3-0 so far in this young season.
On Monday afternoon, after helping the Bulldogs post a 6-1 win over archrival Stratford at Penders Field, Batka took some time to go “On the Record” with the Stratford Sports Scene.
STRATFORD SPORTS SCENE: What’s the best thing about Bunnell High School?
BRETT BATKA: The baseball team. The chemistry with the team. We’re great as a team, we play as a team and we just love playing together.
SSS: If there was one thing you’d change about the school, what would it be?
BB: Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. I love going to Bunnell. The school is fine. It’s not hard, but it’s not easy. It’s a good time.
SSS: What teacher or coach has had the biggest impact on you so far during your two years at Bunnell?
BB: John Svatik. He’s a history teacher. He’s always rooting me on in baseball and talking to me about baseball.
SSS: What’s it been like for you to come out in your sophomore season and go 3-0 and help your team get off to a 5-2 start this spring?
BB: It feels amazing. I’ve worked very hard to be a pitcher. I love it.
SSS: What made you become a pitcher, instead of a positional player?
BB: I don’t know what it is, but when I step on the mound, the energy just hits me, and I loved it. That was it.
SSS: Bases loaded, bottom of the seventh. Would you rather get a strikeout to end the game, or hit a grand slam to win the game?
BB: The strikeout. I am a pitcher.
SSS: Did you a pitching hero growing up, somebody you looked up to?
BB: My number in travel used to be 58 for (former Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jon) Papelbon. I used to love Papelbon.
SSS: What’s your earliest sports memory?
BB: When I was 8 years old, I was playing for the Connecticut Dynasty, a travel organization that doesn’t exist anymore. I was pitching in the championship game, and I don’t remember the score but we run and got these gold rings. They weren’t like real gold.
SSS: Let’s shift some gears and get away from the sports questions: What scares you?
BB: In general? Paranormal activity.
SSS: What is something that nobody knows about you?
BB: I like to play pool, like billiards.
SSS: What’s your perfect breakfast?
BB: Bacon, egg and cheese, with two slices of bacon on the side, and some pineapple.
SSS: Midnight snack?
BB: Chocolate chip cookies and milk.
SSS: And your favorite home-cooked meal?
BB: My mom’s famous tacos. Maybe they’re not actually famous, but they are at my house.
SSS: Hollywood is going to make a movie of your life. What’s the title and who stars as you?
BB: Brad Pitt would star as me and the title would be … (pause) … “Bases Loaded, Two out, Bottom of the Ninth.”
SSS: If you could invite three people to go out to lunch with you, anybody in the history of the world, living or dead, who would you pick?
BB: My grandpa, Richard Fair. Dick Fair, they call him … My dad, he really helped me with baseball. And my mom. I’d go with all family.
SSS: It’s prom season soon. If you could go to prom with anybody in the world, who would it be?
BB: Oof. Like anybody in the world? Ariana Grande.
SSS: What was the last book you read that wasn’t for school?
BB: I’m not much of a reader. I’d say “Jay’s Journal” (by Beatrice Sparks).
SSS: What one word best describes Brett Batka?