Totally unstoppable: Brooks named GISA baseball player of year

At some point during the 45-minute window separating games 2 and 3 of the GISA Class AAA baseball championship series, Jordan Brooks’ past four years blurred in front of his eyes.

A roving utilityman who had caught, pitched and played infield and outfield during his time at Tattnall Square, Brooks’ baseball memories had taken him all over his school’s spacious diamond.

But during this particular moment, there was only one experience he wanted to soon remember: joy, with a twinge of exhaustion.

“It was the last game of my high school career; I didn’t want to leave anything on the field, and I know my teammates were all thinking the same thing,” Brooks said.

It took a clutch, game-tying, second-inning home run, and a gritty 7-2/3 innings pitching performance in order for the senior to experience that painful jubilation.

Just moments after teammate DeAndre Smelter struck out the final batter to beat Dominion Christian for the title, Brooks wasn’t celebrating quite as he had hoped.

Sprawled on the ground in front of the pitcher’s mound, he was working out a cramp that had attacked his legs immediately after the marathon game, and the marathon season.

“That’s the reason why we won the state championship. We had that drive and that motivation, and we never gave up even with all the drama of that last game,” he said.

Although Brooks termed it a “team” win, it was hard to deny his strong individual showing, Tattnall Square head coach Joey Hiller said.

“Everybody, everybody will remember Jordan Brooks’ performance in the state championship and semifinals in 2009,” Hiller said. “Everybody will remember DeAndre’s 10th inning home run and him closing the game out (pitching), but they’ll also say, ‘Do you remember Jordan pitching on no rest and going 7-2/3? And do you remember what he did in the semifinals?’

“It was just a fantastic individual performance.”

After starting the final game of a long, rain-interrupted semifinal series against Deerfield-Windsor, Brooks pitched in relief days later securing a Game 1 victory in the state championship. The next afternoon, he took to the mound again for the deciding game.

“Jordan’s pretty special,” Hiller said. “He’s the true baseball player. He brings to the table a knowledge for the game, a respect for the game; he gets it. He’s always been a guy that demanded a lot out of himself, and a lot out of the others around him.”

As a result of his clutch playing in the state playoffs, as well as an unmatched consistency throughout the season, Brooks has been named The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia GISA baseball player of the year.

He finished the season with an 11-0 record and a 1.02 ERA. He also struck out 104 in 82 innings, while holding opponents to a .190 batting average. His 11 wins mark a single-season school record at Tattnall.

“We’ve had some great arms at Tattnall, but absolutely, Jordan’s one of the top pitchers that I’ve coached at Tattnall,” Hiller said.

A former eighth grader who once went 8-for-8, hitting eight consecutive line drives up the middle, Brooks has long had Hiller’s eye.

Always willing to play any position on the field, Brooks became a major asset for the Trojans.

“We told Jordan, ‘Look, you’re going to be that guy who fills the gaps for us, and you’re the only guy on the team that can do that,’ ” Hiller said. “I’ve always said, ‘The more positions you can play on the field, the more marketable you are and the stronger our team gets.’ If we had nine Jordan Brooks’ we’d be in great shape. Those guys don’t come along too often and it’s been very, very rare for us to have them.”

In the fall, Brooks will take his versatility to Columbus State, where he’ll join former Tattnall Square catcher Justin Steele.

“That’s always been a big goal of mine; to make it to the next level and play college ball,” Brooks said. “I’ll work hard to get playing time and do my role to be a good Columbus Cougar.”