Berthoud’s Issac Bracken an All-American

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Berthoud senior Issac Bracken prepares a pitch during a game in March at Jack Sommers Field at Berthoud High School. Bracken has been a dominate pitcher from the mound this season and even threw a complete game no-hitter against Erie on April 14. Bracken has also earned All-American honors this season. John Gardner / Surveyor file photo

Berthoud senior Issac Bracken prepares a pitch during a game in March at Jack Sommers Field at Berthoud High School. Bracken has been a dominate pitcher from the mound this season and even threw a complete game no-hitter against Erie on April 14. Bracken has also earned All-American honors this season.
John Gardner / Surveyor file photo

Baseball has always been a way of life for Berthoud High School’s (BHS) Issac Bracken.

Now just over a month shy of his high school graduation, Bracken fell in love with the sport at a very young age, as so many do, by playing catch with his father, Alan Bracken, himself a JUCO baseball player whose promising career was cut short by a motorcycle accident.

“I started out when I was probably just 3 or 4, playing catch in the yard with my dad, who really loved baseball,” Bracken, whose older brother Zach Bracken also had a notable baseball career at BHS, said.

“Yeah, it’s been really competitive between me and him; there were times when he hit it harder but I threw harder, but I’m better now,” Bracken said of the congenial sibling rivalry with his elder brother. “It’s been a lot of fun and he’s made me a better baseball player.”

Bracken, who in November committed to play baseball collegiately at University of Northern Colorado, has racked-up accolades at nearly the rate at which he produces base hits. He was named an All-American by Perfect Game, a national scouting service, and to the Rawlings Frist-Team All-West Region.

Asked about the honors, Bracken said, “To be honest, I didn’t expect that at all; I’ve always had rivalries around the area … and to make a team like this for Perfect Game and be an All-American just felt amazing.”

Bracken’s skills all over the diamond – at the plate, where he led the Tri-Valley Conference in batting average, homeruns, RBIs, on-base-average and slugging percentage as a junior, as a pitcher, where his fastball hit 91 mph in a game against Holy Family on March 22, and in the field at the highly-demanding shortstop position – have caught the attention of scouts from the majors. Professional teams in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York (AL) and Philadelphia have contacted Bracken regarding his desire to play pro ball, which is his stated goal.

Competing with some of the best of the best in the entire country on national teams such as the Prospects National Team, North Texas Longhorns and Virginia Stars, the freakishly-athletic Bracken stood out, setting records at these showcases and in various performance-measurement events.

In performance measurement, Bracken has demonstrated infield and outfield velocities that are exceeded by only 15 and 20 players, respectively, nationwide, according to Perfect Game. As a pitcher, Bracken’s fastball is in the top seven percent of pitchers nationwide, and scouts say his fastball has “good life” and his curveball showed “tight spin and good power.” Bracken was named a “top pro prospect” four times in the last two years, ranked the No. 11 middle infielder in the nation and the top in Colorado.

On April 14 Bracken added a no-hitter to his resume in Berthoud’s 8-0 shutout win over Erie. In seven innings of work, Bracken struck out 11 Erie batters and did not allow anyone to pass first base for the complete game shutout.

Bracken explains that, while he has been blessed with some physical gifts, it’s been his work ethic that sets him apart from his competition.

“It’s been my will to work and get better. In the winter and in the fall I’m working out five or six days a week. When the weather is bad I have to keep at it; I’m hitting in the cages,” he said. “To be an exceptional baseball player at a high level you have to put in the work, you cannot even take a week off.”

Yet. while honing his baseball skills, it has been the friends he’s made and the experiences he’s had along the way that Bracken says will be the memories he will remember most fondly.

“In high school I got on a big travel team and traveled all over the U.S. visiting all these colleges, and that’s what really made me realize I can do this and go all the way,” Bracken said. “I’ve played with kids all over the country, and I’ve met a ton of people, but I’m going to remember all the people here who have been around me – my family and my friends, my girlfriend, my teammates – that helped me? become both the person I am and the player I am.”