Prairie City-Monroe senior Derek Brown was raised in a baseball house.
His older brother Austin pitched for the Mustangs and played collegiately at Buena Vista University.
His father Noel Brown has been the assistant baseball coach at PCM for the past 10 years. His mother Deanna has been PCM’s official scorekeeper for just as long.
It’s a baseball family. And Derek Brown is no different.
Brown begins his fifth and final baseball season this summer but his career is not over. Brown signed his National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Iowa Western Community College on Monday afternoon.
“I chose Iowa Western because right when I stepped on the campus it felt like a good home environment and also because I feel I have a better chance to go Division I after my two years there,” Derek Brown said.
Brown had a lot of suitors. His final two choices were the Reivers at Iowa Western and Ellsworth Community College.
Central College and his brother’s school, Buena Vista, were the other two after Brown the most.
Iowa Western has averaged 51 wins per year since 2010. The Reivers have been to the JUCO World Series eight times in the past 12 years, winning the championship in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
“It’s a good program,” PCM baseball coach Jeff Lindsay said.
“It’ll be challenging and a different type of workload. He’ll be able to handle it.”
Derek Brown has pitched for PCM since his eighth grade year.
In 2016, Brown made one start and 10 appearances on the mound, finishing 2-3 with an earned run average of 3.50 in 18 innings.
He struck out 21, walked 17 and hit three batters and opponents batted .247 off him.
As a freshman in 2017, Brown made eight starts and appeared in 12 games, finishing 3-2 with an ERA of 1.89 in 37 innings.
He also had one save, struck out 43, walked 16 and hit five while allowing opponents to hit .207.
His worst season at PCM came during his sophomore campaign.
Brown started in seven games, appeared in 10 and finished 2-4 with an ERA of 4.34 in 29 innings. He had two saves, struck out 37, walked 14 and hit nine while opponents batted .256 against him.
Brown bounced back in a big way last season for the Mustangs.
He was PCM’s bonafide ace, making eight starts and finishing 6-2 with an ERA of 1.49. He struck out 58, walked 23 and hit six batters. Opponents batted .121 against him.
PCM as a team went 17-5 and lost to just one Class 2A team all season.
Going into his final season, Brown knows he will need to be better with off-speed pitches.
“I feel my off-speed pitches need some work. It’s gonna be different in college,” said Brown, who plans to major in sports media.
“I can sit back and blow 87 miles per hour fastballs by people in high school all night but in college it’ll be harder to do that. My pitching coach and I have been working on my change up and trying to input that more into my arsenal this summer.”
Lindsay said he and Brown have been working on the off-speed stuff the past few seasons.
“When you get to college, you have to mix it up and hit your spots,” Lindsay said. “The off-speed pitches are important.”