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Brayton Thomas Named Crumback Player of the Year

The Northeast Indiana Baseball Association announced on Thursday that Bishop Dwenger senior Brayton Thomas had been named this year’s Dick Crumback/NEIBA High School Baseball Player of the Year. Thomas pitches and plays first base for the Saints. He is the second player from a Fort Wayne high school to be given the award since it was first handed out in 2019 (Homestead’s Carter Mathison was the first).

“I’m very blessed and honored to be named [the winner of] that award and … just to be recognized for that award, it means a lot,” Thomas said. “For people to watch me and see how I play, I value that a lot. So, I’m very honored, and I’m very grateful for the place that God put me … in front of everyone.”

Thomas is a key part of Dwenger’s lineup. At the plate, he’s batting .388 on the season so far. He’s also driven in 24 RBI’s this season. He’s tied with Aslan Nolan for the lead in that category.

Thomas has also excelled on the mound this year. In nine appearances; he has pitched 26.1 innings, and has a 6-1 record, allowing very low opponent run totals. Thomas’ ERA is 0.53, and he has only allowed two earned runs all year. He is also Dwenger’s leader in strikeouts. He has 62 K’s this season.

“This season’s been so fun just hanging out with the guys, doing off-the-field things, and then on-the-field things, and I think that’s leading us to a really, really good season,” Thomas said.

The season has been special, not only for Thomas, but for Dwenger baseball altogether. Thomas and the Saints are SAC champions. They went 14-0 in conference play in the regular season. Overall, they are 22-8.

“Fourteen and Oh, it’s special, right, especially for my senior season. That’s four times in a row that my team’s been able to win it, so that’s a great honor. I don’t know how many people have done that before. But I feel blessed to be able to be part of such a great team and an atmosphere with so many guys,” Thomas said. “So, this 14-0 season in the SAC, it’s really special. We came out and played our hearts out every single game, whether we had our guy on the mound or not, whether we had a great day at the plate or not, we found ways to battle, and just the grit that all these guys have, it’s truly special. No matter what situation we’re put in, we find a way.”

Dwenger has already started Sectional play. The Saints are in the Class 3A, Sectional 21 playoffs at Angola High School. They defeated Garrett 12-1 in the first round yesterday. In that game, Thomas went 2 for 3 with three RBI’s. He also pitched four innings, threw eight strikeouts, and only gave up one unearned run. He and the Saints then knocked off Angola 5-4 in the semi-final round on Saturday. In that game, Thomas walked and scored a run. Dwenger takes on Concordia in today’s sectional championship.

“Every game we win is another chance to come to practice with the guys, make more memories with the guys, more car rides, more bus trips, it’s just really special in tournament play. It’s win or go home, and our guys are trying to win and survive and advance.”

As a result of Thomas winning the Crumback Player of the Year award, Bishop Dwenger’s baseball program will benefit financially as well. The Crumback family and the Fort Wayne Baseball Federation will donate $1,000 to Dwenger’s baseball program in honor of Dick Crumback.

“That’s awesome, I’m just finding that out, and I’m really excited for the guys coming up to get a little bit of help,” Thomas said. “All the places that these coaches have put me in, all the situations that these coaches have put me in, and all the advice that they’ve given me, all the times that they’ve helped me and put me in the right spots, it’s the least I could do. I’m grateful for the Crumback family to be able to provide us with that, so thank you for that.”

Thomas will be publicly recognized at two upcoming events. He will be recognized during pre-game festivities at the Fort Wayne Tincaps’ home game against the Peoria Chiefs on Tuesday, June fourth. He’ll also be recognized at the NEIBA Hall of Fame induction banquet on Sunday, June ninth. Tickets to the banquet can be purchased at the door, or they can be reserved at .

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