Matt Brankle came to Earlham to pitch for the baseball team and to study business, art or English.
As a junior, he will declare art as his major later this fall with hopes of becoming a high school principal — a principal who will work hard to correct problems he sees in the American education system.
That is, if his first goal falls through.
“My number one goal is signing with a professional team,” he says. Brankle just finished his first summer with the Richmond RiverRats, a member of the Prospect League, a collegiate wooden bat division, and was named to the Prospect League’s All-Star Team.
He will continue strengthening his arm and increasing the velocity of his 89 miles per hour fastball, but his plans reach beyond baseball. If not drafted, he will apply to Earlham’s Masters in Teaching program.
“I will start out teaching with a coaching job and then become a high school principal,” he says. “I looked up to the administrators at my school. They were really good people, and they were very helpful to me. I realize now what an awesome job that would be.”
Brankle had such a good time during his campus visit that he came for two overnights and one regular visit.
“Coach Sak (Steve Sakosits) came to my school to recruit me, and he really talked to me and told me how the kind of education I would get here at Earlham would be great for my future,” he says.
Brankle soon found that Coach was right.
“The classes are a bit tougher than I expected,” Brankle says. “I’ve learned that I can’t wait to the last minute to do homework. Now I do the hard work involved in learning because I know I need to.”
Brankle says that baseball has given him “every opportunity.”
“I have always said that my curveball is my best pitch, but I have had coaches disagree with me. I can throw it whenever I need it,” he says. “I like being in control of the game. Everything is at the pitcher’s speed, and I am fairly quick unless I am having trouble and need to slow down.”
Like a good baseball game, Brankle enjoys a quick-paced life. He recently became engaged and plans for a May 2014 wedding. He works in the library between classes, has practice at 4 p.m. and umpires for a fall league for 12-year-olds. Somehow he squeezes in the time to volunteer to help a couple of local kids develop their arms.
“I saw that their mechanics weren’t that good, but that they had good arms,” he says. “They have a future, and I just wanted to help them get to that future.”