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Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the Week: Bob Jones Baseball’s Braden Booth

Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the Week: Bob Jones Baseball’s Braden Booth

MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Braden Booth has his eyes set on making history at Bob Jones, and he’s doing all he can to help his team bring a blue map back home.

So far in his senior season, he’s the Patriots’ top pitcher, and he is leading the team in multiple categories at the plate. So for that, Braden Booth is the Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the Week.

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“Just help my team win, with anything possible that I can,” Booth said.

“I’m not saying that it’s an automatic win when he pitches, but we feel really good about our chances whenever he’s on the mound. I told him in the preseason meetings – your goal, individual goal, is to win Mr. Baseball and that’s the best player in the state regardless of classification. And that was kind of our talk in the preseason: it’s a team game, but if you have a really good individual year, our team’s going to be good also,” Bob Jones baseball head coach Jared Smith added.

Booth felt confident in his stuff coming into his final high school season but wanted to get mentally tougher.

“My pitches have always been there, the velocity is usually always been there but the mental side has definitely been the game changer this year,” Booth said.

“Really good players, when they struggle, it’s really tough to process that mentally because their whole life – a lot of the time – they’ve been the best player on their teams and now, they have some failure. So last year I think he didn’t handle some failure as well as he could,” Smith explained.

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That mental toughness has allowed Booth to continue to lead the 13th-ranked team in the country, both on and off the diamond.

“If you’re over here throwing helmets or pouting, then everybody’s going to do that because you’re our best player. He’s done a really good job of leading our guys, by leading by example, and I think that’s helped our whole team,” Smith said.

But Booth gives a lot of credit to his teammates. The Mississippi State commit said watching the older guys work hard to get to the SEC and get drafted helped push him over the years.

“It’s an amazing feeling, just seeing kids that I’ve played with since my freshman year being out there on the biggest stage. So, I’m just trying to be like them,” Booth said.

“I knew early on as a freshman that he was going to be a big-time SEC guy. He’s only continued to get better, but what speaks a lot to him, is he buys into our process but also his own work ethic and his process,” Smith added.

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But the job isn’t finished in Madison… Booth is hopeful to end his Patriots career on top.

“We don’t need anything special, we just need him to be Braden,” Smith said.

“It’s going to take more than just me, it’s going to take everybody on this team. It’d mean everything to me just seeing all these kids that I’ve seen the whole year, just all the work they’ve put in finally paying off,” Booth added.

We are always looking for standout student-athletes in the Tennessee Valley to feature! If you have a high-school-aged athlete that you would like to nominate for Hiley Mazda Key Athlete of the Week, you can email olivia.whitmire@whnt.com, claudia.chakamian@whnt.com or sports@whnt.com.

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