UHV catcher completes the family battery
May 2, 2011 at 12:02 a.m.
Brandon Bohanon was home schooled as a young boy, but his true classroom was the ballpark.
Brian Bohanon was the Texas Rangers' top pick in the 1987 major league draft.
During his 12-year major league career with six teams, Bohanon would often bring his son to the ballpark.
"He's been in a clubhouse all his life," Brian Bohanon said. "When you're younger and you pay that much attention to the game, it has to help you."
Brian Bohanon remembers his son taking cuts in the batting cage and working with the hitting instructor while he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.
But the best training Brandon Bohanon received was watching his father pitch.
"My mom and I kept his pitch count," Brandon Bohanon said. "I would see how would do things through the innings."
Brandon Bohanon followed in his father's footsteps and attended North Shore High School in Houston, but became a catcher in the process.
"It's something I fell in love with," Brandon Bohanon said. "My dad's been able to help from a pitcher's standpoint as to how to understand the came and call the game."
Bohanon's catching skills were good enough to attract the attention of University of Houston-Victoria head coach Terry Puhl.
Puhl offered Bohanon a scholarship with the intention of letting him back up Jose Quintanilla for a season.
When Quintanilla wasn't able to return, Bohanon became the Jaguars' starting catcher as a freshman.
"I think his biggest thing has been catching the upper college pitcher who's throwing a cutter and a runner," Puhl said. "At the beginning, he was kind of snatching at it and missing and there were some passed balls. Now, he's seeing it on a regular basis. He's made the adjustment and he's improved his throwing skills too."
Brian Bohanon wasn't worried about his son making the transition from the high school to the college level.
"I thought he was ready maturity wise," Brian Bohanon said. "I knew he would have to get better at this pace of the game. He's learning the game and one thing that's going to help him as he gets older and fills out is his strength."
The biggest challenge facing Bohanon was handling a pitching staff composed primarily of seniors.
"I kind of control the game and listen to their opinion a lot," Brandon Bohanon said. "Since they are seniors, they know what they're talking about. I've kind of mixed in what my dad's taught me and it's worked out this season."
Bohanon's ability to call a game hasn't surprised UHV closer Pete Ontiveros.
"I knew coach Puhl wasn't going to recruit somebody who wasn't good," Ontiveros said. "We're usually on the same page unless I know a specific batter and how I want to pitch to him. I'll discuss it with him before I go out there."
Bohanon enters the Association of Independent Institutions tournament having caught 34 games this season. He has nine passed balls, a fielding percentage of .963, and has thrown out 19 of 56 runners attempting to steal.
Bohanon's biggest struggles have come at the plate, where he's hitting .239 with one home run and 12 RBIs.
"I want my catcher to move the ball," Puhl said. "If you can move the ball, a lot of good things can happen at this level. With Brandon he's kind of hot and cold. He just needs to get a little more consistent."
Bohanon won't use inexperience as an excuse for his lack of offensive production, and has every intention of getting better.
"I've always been the type the more the merrier," Bohanon said. "The more opportunities I have the better for me. I came in here expecting to be the starting catcher and wanting the full load of it.
"I've always prided myself in my hitting and defense behind the plate. Hitting wise was not what I expected, but everything else has been what I expected."