Topeka Hayden senior, Brogan Heinen, isn’t any stranger to success. He threw a perfect game in the state championship two years ago and was the 4A-I player of the year in Kansas as a junior.
So it’s no surprise that Heinen, now a senior, has had a near perfect year on the mound for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-4 right hander has struck out 38 batters in 31.2 innings, while going 5-0 on the season with a 0.66 ERA. His marks this season have elevated him to 17-2 in his career with a 1.07 ERA, while striking out 146 batters over 131.1 innings pitched.
“This season has been phenomenal for my team and me so far. We try to keep improving every day to achieve our goals as a team.” Heinen said.
Phenomenal is the right word to describe Hayden head coach Bill Arnold’s squad as they have started out with a perfect 16-0 record this season. The Wildcats have outscored their opponents 143-to-24 on the season. Hayden bats .369 as a team, but where they really get it done is on the mound. The pitching staff is led by Heinen, Jacob Head, Derrick McGreevy, Brooks Peavler and Justin Watkins, who combine to make a team ERA of 0.88. The Kansas state record of team ERA, set by then 2-1A state champion St. Mary’s Colgan, of 0.96 in 1997 is in serious jeopardy.
“Everybody has their special talents and abilities on what they bring to this team, no matter if its pitching, hitting or anything else.” Heinen said.
Heinen is also dominant with his bat, hitting .463 on the season with 25 hits, two home runs and 20 RBI in 16 games. He has signed to play at Kansas State University next season and it was his favorite from the beginning.
“KSU was my favorite before I had any offers. I told myself growing up if I were ever in the position to get an offer from them, then I was accepting it,” Heinen said. “There were a few other offers on the table at the time, but I grew up being a fan.”
Heinen isn’t just a one sport athlete that specializes in their sport. He plays soccer, basketball and was the kicker on the football team this fall.
“Baseball is obviously my favorite and my best opportunity in the future.” Heinen said.
For now it’s all about baseball and Heinen is ready to lead his team to another state championship, just as he did two years ago. Hayden is currently the number one ranked team in the latest Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches Poll.
We caught up with Heinen below in a Q&A...
How did you get involved in baseball?
Well as many other players out there, I started at age 5 playing tee-ball. I grew up around a great group of guys that I played with. Most of who I still know to this day, and even play with/against. I have always been involved in traveling and playing in the summer, and just playing the game whenever and wherever I can.
How has this season went for you?
This season has been phenomenal for my team and me so far. Our team has started out the year 16-0 and we hope to finish out the season undefeated! We try to keep improving every day to achieve our goals as a team!
What are your goals as a team and an individual?
Our team goals include winning every game of course, and winning the Centennial League, then moving on and winning a state championship. That could be considered to be many team's goals. Our guys just try and get better every day so that we can be the bests team we can be when playoffs roll around. That is our overall goal.
What does your league look like this year?
Our league is very strong as it usually is. The variety of levels of teams help every team in the league get the experience they need to be in the best shape going forward in the season. With guys like Zeferjahn on Seaman, there are some quality players that we go up against day in and day out. It helps every team in the league in the long run.
How good is the Topeka area for baseball?
Topeka has to be one of the top 5 cities in the Midwest area as far as raw talent goes. There are guys going all over the country to play baseball in college. Kansas City I would say is the top city, but Topeka is right behind them giving them a tough run.
How does playing in a 5A/6A league help to your advantage in 4A postseason?
Classifications can be deceiving sometimes. There are some very very good 4A teams out there in KS, so playing 5A/6A teams in our league definitely helps, but don't take 4A out of the picture. There are multiple solid squads in they state of Kansas that can make a run at any point in the season. The most dangerous can be around playoff time.
What is it like playing for Coach Arnold?
Coach Arnold is a prestigious coach. He is not only known for his Football coaching, but his Baseball coaching as well. Multiple State championships are under his belt. He brings experience to the table when coaching, to give us the best look at the road ahead, and what we as a team need to accomplish to reach our highest quality of play. He is a great role model and a great coach. I love playing for him.
Other players to look out for on your team this year?
I don't like pointing out specific players, especially on my own team, because it's tough. Everybody has their special talents and abilities of what they bring to the team. Whether it's pitching, hitting, or anything else. But I would have to say keep your eye on Jacob Head (LHP/OF) who can be a solid force on the mound, and is the most athletic guy i've seen play center field, especially being a lefty. Also watch out for Derrick Mcgreevy(RHP/SS), who can absolutely hit the ball like crazy and has quick hands at SS, and also has a great game on the mound. And one more guy is Carson Engroff at 3B. He has been a huge key to our success at the plate this year, and a solid infielder to have on the field.
Do you play any other sports?
Yes, i play Soccer, Basketball, and also was the kicker for the football team my senior year. Baseball being my favorite of all of these, of course.
What led you to choose KSU, any other offers?
KSU was my sole favorite, before I even received any offers. I told myself growing up, that if I were ever in the position where I received an offer from KSU, I was accepting it no matter what. I have always been a KSU baseball fan as a kid and teenager. There were a few other offers on the table at the time, but I had my choice already chosen in my head beforehand.
Have you heard if the possibility of you potentially getting drafted could happen this year?
I have not heard the possibility, I know in the past I have seen a few guys drafted like Floyd from Shawnee Heights, and other athletes. But I have not been focusing on that. If I get drafted it is a plus! It would be an awesome feeling!
What is it like growing up in Topeka?
Topeka is a city where you can make your own destiny. If you want something here, you work for it and you go get it and earn it. Every single person in this city that has done that, has been successful. Topeka is a fun place to grow up, you meet new people every day, especially playing baseball.
When you are not playing sports, what do you do for fun?
Friends take up a lot of my time. I love my friends like no other, and wouldn't trade anything for them. I'm also a gamer. I love to play video games, whether it's MLB the Show, Madden, or Call of Duty.
One thing the average person wouldn't know about you?
I love dogs. And I'm not afraid to tell anyone that. I'll spend a whole day with a dog if it's cute enough.