Grand finish for Bruins

Sunday, April 29, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:51 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Brandon Gerau’s grand slam beat Hickman in the last inning.

Many young baseball players dream about hitting a walk-off grand slam against an archrival.

Anyone who accomplishes such an impressive feat would presumably want to talk about it for days.

But Brandon Gerau chose to handle it differently.

After his walk-off grand slam Saturday gave Rock Bridge a 6-3 win over Hickman in the third place game of the Sells Development/Red Weir Classic at Hickman, Gerau handled the moment with the modesty that Bruins coach Justin Towe said he expects from his senior center fielder.

“He’ll probably just say, ‘Yeah, it’s a homer.’” Towe said. “He’s the type of kid who doesn’t need the spotlight on him. He really just wants team success.”

True to Towe’s prediction, Gerau downplayed his home run, a shot which prompted Towe to say, “One hit can change the whole year.”

“I would have enjoyed it more if I had played better,” Gerau said.

Gerau lost a fly ball in the sun and was hitless until his grand slam against Hickman (8-9), and he mustered only two hits total in Friday’s 11-7 win over North Kansas City and 3-2 loss to St. Dominic.

However, regardless of his performance over the weekend, Towe said that Gerau would have been just as modest if he had more success. The modesty is a trait Gerau said he learned from his parents and grandparents.

“They told me that if you get a big head, you’re going to play like it,” Gerau said. “They also taught me to never give up. When your opponents take it to you, you get to see what you’re made of.”

Bruins catcher Micah Leipard said that no matter the situation, Gerau refuses to blame his teammates for their shortcomings.

Towe said Gerau’s demeanor helps him to be a leader for the Bruins (9-4), who Towe said feed off of the performance of their leadoff hitter.

“The guy at the top of the lineup, when he’s hitting bad, it trickles down to the rest of the lineup,” Towe said. “But when he’s hitting good, it helps everybody in the lineup perform better.

He does his job, and he’s a good leader of this team.”

As modest as he is on the diamond, Gerau is just as big of a joker off of it. Leipard said that Gerau frequently makes wisecracks in class, often writing humorous notes and calling out classmates for playing on cell phones. Gerau’s wit doesn’t even spare Leipard, who is often made fun of for his truck, a large red Dodge Ram 2500, and his voice, which carries the hint of a Southern drawl.

“They call me ‘Stacks’ or ‘Diesel’ because of the truck,” Leipard said. “He makes fun of me because I talk in a real redneck voice. But it’s all in fun, and I can take that.”

After his dramatic home run, Gerau allowed a glimpse into his more jovial side, cracking a smile as he briefly discussed his feat.

“Yeah, it was pretty nice,” he said, “I’ve never felt as big a rush.”

But, true to form, Gerau quickly credited his teammates for the opportunity.

“I wouldn’t have had that chance if Nate (Herndon) hadn’t pitched so well, or if my teammates hadn’t gotten on ahead of me. Today it was me. Monday it could be any one of the other guys,” he said.

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