Hayden Brown was used to winning while playing football and baseball for Lourdes. That's what made the end of his senior season so frustrating.
Brown, who helped Lourdes win a Class AAA state football championship last fall, excelled this spring on the baseball diamond. He was part of a Lourdes team that went 21-0 in the regular season, but then went 3-2 in the playoffs and fell short the team goal to play in the Class AA state tournament.
"It was a really fun season," Brown said. "It didn't end the way we wanted it to, but no matter what it's going to be a great memory of mine with all of my teammates. We had an outstanding regular season, it was just the postseason we didn't succeed in."
Brown played a huge role in that success as a first baseman/outfielder/pitcher. He batted .433 at the plate with 20 RBIs, and as a left-handed pitcher he was 4-0 with a 3.11 ERA. For his stellar season, Brown has been named the Post Bulletin Player of the Year in baseball.
"Kind of speechless, almost," Brown said. "It's an honor to be the PB Player of the Year considering the talent that we have around the whole entire area. That's a huge honor and it's hard to even describe the feeling."
What gives Brown even more mixed emotions is that he had so many talented teammates on his Lourdes team.
"Everyone was close in talent," he admitted. "With the Player of the Year thing, you could have said six other players on our team, in my opinion, who could have been the Player of the Year."
The Eagles also featured 11 seniors, many who were the core of the team.
"It was definitely special because we've all been playing together since back in the day, traveling (teams) and so like when we first came together in high school, that was a big deal," Brown said. "It's always been fun and I'm definitely going to miss the guys."
Most of those seniors who played baseball were also members of the championship football team, and the players did a lot of bonding over the years.
"Everyone knows each other well and it helps us keep in the right mindset with one another and to play together when you know all the tendencies of each other," Brown said.
At 6-foot-3 and 195-pounds, the left-handed hitting and throwing Brown can look imposing on the field. He can also catch opponents off guard.
"For me, it's probably my size and speed," he said of his best asset. "A lot of people look at me and don't realize I'm one of the fastest guys on the field usually."
The PB Player of the Year was part of a long list of awards for Brown this season. He was named All-Conference in the Hiawatha Valley League, All-State in Class AA and was selected to and played in the MBCA All-Star Series, where he went 2-for-5 in three games.
He said a highlight of the season for him came in West Subsection play against Byron when the Eagles rallied from a three-run deficit with two outs in the seventh inning. Brown hit an RBI double to make the score 4-3 and Caiden Bruns doubled him in to tie the game. Lourdes then won the game in the eighth inning.
"I thought that was a really, really cool moment to the season," Brown said.
Brown will take his talents to the next level as he will play Division II college baseball at Minnesota Duluth.
"His speed, size and arm make him a good prospect at the next level," Lourdes coach Dan Herold said.
Brown's college position at this point is undecided and he could be a two-way player, both as a hitter and pitcher. But he knows where he would like to play.
"For me personally, I like first base," Brown said. "I like pitching, too, but first base is just fun for me. Most people don't really like that position, but I love it, getting short hops and all that stuff and making a nice pick on a double play, it's such a good feeling."
The season didn't end the way Brown wanted, but he expects big things from himself and his teammates in the future.
"I think during the season everyone just had the drive to constantly win and put their best foot forward," Brown said. "We've always been competitors and having that this last season was very good to have. It's going to be interesting to see how that translate into college. I guarantee that myself and all my other teammates are going to be able to do some great things in college."