Standing tall

For The Tribune

Cole Brock said he began playing tennis in sixth grade and baseball at an even younger age, so it was only natural for him to continue both sports at Brownstown Central.

He says his height, at 6-foot-4, helps him a lot in tennis.

“My height is a big advantage on my serve,” Brock said. “Basically, any ball that bounces high, it’s a big advantage there, too. I can really drive it into the court, so it really helps out a lot.”

Brock has been in the varsity lineup for three years. He played No. 1 doubles his sophomore and junior years and switched to No. 2 singles this year.

“There is a big difference,” he said. “I like singles because of the fact that you do bad or do well it’s all on you. Doubles I like to play more as a recreational thing, not so much competitively.”

The Braves senior said warmups before the match are important.

“I take the warmups seriously,” Brock said. “I hit several shots where I can get a feel of what he’s pretty good at, and what he may not be so good at. Usually, I get my shots warmed up without letting him know what all I can do. They are pretty important.”

Brock said he would much rather win a set 6-0 than 6-4 or 7-5.

“They’re both a win, obviously,” Brock said. “Any time you can go out and dominate, it’s definitely a lot more comfortable. When it’s really close, you feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you to keep the ball in play. When you’re up big you just go for your shots, and you really don’t have that (pressure).

“When you lose close, you can go back and think, ‘Well, maybe if I would have changed this or done this a little better it could have gone either way,’ but when you lose big it’s not a big confidence booster.”

Brock makes sure to put in the extra time through all four seasons.

“I try to play a lot during the winter,” Brock said. “We usually try to find an indoor place to play, and throughout the summer we try to play as often as we can. That’s a big part of our success. It’s been like that for several years. We’ve just had kids that enjoy playing. I think that’s what makes us really good.

“When it’s windy you have to adjust your shots. Generally what I like to do is try to hit a little more top spin on my ball, then I have a little bit more margin for error. The top spin kind of brings it back into the middle of the court.”

He said the type of game he plays depends on his opponent.

“If my opponent likes to hit short balls then I try to come to the net as much as possible,” Brock said. “With my height and length it’s a big asset for me. If I’m playing somebody that really likes to pound the ball, then I’ll stay at the baseline and outlast them.”

In the spring, Brock played outfield and the corner infield positions in baseball.

“I like outfield just because you’ve got a little more range, and you make some longer throws,” Brock said.

During games, Brock said he enjoys batting.

“When I go up the plate, the first pitch that I think I can hit the ball hard somewhere is the one I go for,” Brock said. “On the first pitch my mindset is usually, ‘OK, I’m going to try to hit it hard somewhere.’ If I see it isn’t in (the strike zone) then I know it’s not my pitch.”

Brock said he feels like the Braves are capable of contending for the Mid-Southern Conference and sectional titles in baseball.

“We have most of our pitching coming back. That is going to be big for us,” Brock said. “I think a big key for us will be figuring out a way to hit well with guys in scoring position and not leave guys stranded. In the past we’ve had some trouble with that, and specifically strikeouts have let us down in that part of the game.

“If we can figure out how to get guys across home plate that will be big.”

At a glance

Parents: Clint and Stephanie Brock

Sibling: Carley

Sports: Tennis 4 years, baseball 4 years

Organizations: Lettermen’s Club

Plans after high school: Attend college, study engineering

Favorite good: Pizza

Favorite TV show: “Big Bang Theory”

Favorite musician: Mumford and Sons

Favorite movie: “Skyfall”

Favorite athlete: Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

Q&A

Q: Is the tennis team a close bunch?

A: “Between the seniors we have good chemistry, the whole team does, really. Even if we don’t have a match we’ll go play at night, not necessarily for practice, we just enjoy playing with each other. A big part of our success is just getting out there and getting a bunch of court time.”

Q: Do you have an advantage playing in Brownstown?

A: “I always like playing at home better. Obviously, you’re more comfortable, you know your surroundings. When you go play on the road you have to get used to everything.”

Q: Have you enjoyed your tenure at BCHS?

A: “I like it. It’s not that big of a school. The thing I’ve always liked about it you pretty much know everybody. You know all your teachers. Your group of friends you never really get separated, so you have the same group of friends all through high school, and I like that. It’s been fun. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.