By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Brandon Mitson’s competitive baseball career started seven years ago as a Millington All-Star.
And as he walked out the hall of Tipton-Rosemark Academy as a graduate, he left an All-Star. In late May, the former Rebel slugger received the news he was a member of the Second Annual State Farm/Shelby County All-Star Game as part of the Private Schools Team.
That was a bonus in Mitson’s month as news spread that he was going to sign with Southwest Tennessee Baseball. On May 21 in the TRA Lobby Mitson made it official by signing his letter of intent with parents Byron and Marisa present. Also joining the family were TRA Head Coach Brad Smith and Southwest Skipper George Sykes.
“I’m real happy for Brandon because he has worked extremely hard,” Smith said. “Had some injuries early in his high school career that set him back a little bit. By far as an 18-year old kid, the strongest kid I’ve coached. He has worked extremely hard in the weight room, but God-given. He has 30-year-old man strength in an 18-year old body.”
Mitson used his muscular frame to have a monster senior season with 7 home runs setting a school record. The graduated Rebel also hit .403 with 12 doubles and 42 RBIs. With 31 hits on the season, Mitson had a slugging percentage of .857.
Sykes said he is excited to bring a player with potential to hit for power into his program. Sykes also noted Mitson has good speed on the bases and in the outfield.
“We’re excited about Brandon Mitson,” he said. “We think he’s going to be a very positive and valuable asset to the Southwest program in all aspects from academics to baseball. We’re excited to take his talents to another level and have those roles produce for us on the field.”
Since he started playing in the recreation leagues in Millington, Mitson has been working to reach the next level.
“It solidifies my accomplishments and the hard work my Dad and me have put into it,” Brandon said. “He was always pushing me when I was younger. My Mom, grandparents were always pushing me to strive to be the best I could be.”
All were on hand for the signing ceremony. Brandon took a moment to reflect on his journey to the college level starting with his father’s support.
Taking time with practice at home, Byron invested in his son’s passion for the game with travel baseball in teams like the Millington All-Stars.
“He’s a very hard worker and he’s been very dedicated to the sport,” Byron said. “It’s the only sport he plays. He plays it year around. Not only has he become a good hitter, he’s been very patient. He’s turned into a pretty good little ball player. Well I shouldn’t say little anymore. He’s turned into a good ball player.”
Byron and Marisa made sure Brandon had the equipment to train and build his body into a prototype slugger. With lessons from hitting coaches like Tim Lloyd, Mitson posted numbers to attract colleges and earn individual honors.
“When he swings a bat the ball just does something different when it comes off his bats,” Smith noted. “It just sounds different and carries different. The strength and getting the barrel to the ball, it just sounds different coming off his bat than the normal high school kid.
“(The Southwest Salquis) are getting a 200-pound, strong as an ox guy that can play the outfield,” he added. “He can hit for power. He’s also arguably our fastest base runner. He has very good speed for a big kid. Runs the bases well, he’s got a lot of tool to offer Southwest the next two years. His best years are ahead of him and are yet to come.”
Byron said the past two seasons have been special seeing his son live up to his potential.
“The last couple of years he has exploded,” he said. “But it wasn’t until this year, his senior year, he has really shown leadership and his stats all year long have been phenomenal. He was sick for a couple of games. He didn’t so well. He had a stomach virus. But besides that he has really turned it on.”
Byron and Marisa said despite overcoming injuries and illnesses, two consistent things about Brandon has been his work ethic and leadership.
“I don’t know what to say,” Marisa said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s very kind hearted.”
“A lot of folks look up to him,” Byron added. “He’s definitely a leader. He has taken some of the younger kids under his wings. They have a program here at TRA called Baseball Buddies. He really enjoys working with the kids.”
Brandon said he remembers being that young ball player looking up to older players. He kept that in mind as he worked hard to reach his goals.
“I love spending time with kids and making them smile. You never know who’s watching,” he said. “That’s what I’ve always been working toward being the best baseball player I could be. It started off when I was younger I just wanted to play high school ball. Then when I was in high school, I just wanted to make it to college. Now that I’m going to college I want to keep it progressing, maybe make it to the minor leagues then maybe even the Majors.”
One step closer to his ultimate dream, Brandon said he’s proud his hard work was validated with an All-Star selection and college scholarship. But the 18-year-old said it all started with his father believing in him.
“Thank you for all your hard work and standing by my side,” Brandon concluded taking about his Dad. “You always pushed me along the way and told me I could do it. And I’m here.”