Enjoy the ride |  Daily Standard Stories

Enjoy the ride | Daily Standard Stories

Wednesday 13 July 2022

Tom Brunswick of Coldwater still loves baseball training

by Gary R. Rasberry

Photo by Gary R Rasberry/The Daily Standard

Coldwater ACME coach Tom Brunswick spoke with Baylen Blockberger during last Saturday’s District 4 championship game in Minster. Not only is Brunswick leading the Cavaliers to the official ACME Championship this weekend in St. Henry, he will be inducted into the ACME Hall of Fame.

In an age when most people start thinking about cooling off and enjoying the golden years, Tom Brunswick still plays bats, hits baseballs to warm up, makes lineup cards and teaches the game that’s been a part of his life all his life. The majority is 64 years old.

The Coldwater native will continue to work this weekend as the ACME Cavaliers play ACME’s Congressional Baseball Championships starting Saturday in St. Henry, just a short ride from home.

Having played all the way up to Double-A in minor leagues and coaching the game, most notably over 10 years with the Grand Lake Mariners, one can ask why he spends the summer training when he’s relaxing with family and friends.

The answer is simple.

“I think I enjoy competition and camaraderie,” Brunswick said. “I enjoy taking a group of guys who lost a tough game in the (spring) tournament – except for the years we won the last title (a state title) – and taking them and trying to tie them together as a team.

“After you lose the seniors, it’s hard. The first two operations are embarrassing because you’re looking for the seniors and they’re not there. I’m enjoying it. When the summer starts it’s all new faces, the guys who haven’t found We played together as a team (the guys are split between varsity) juniors and freshman football) for a while or forever and in a short period of time, because all you really have is June, try to make them a good team and build the chemistry for a successful season.”

Brunswick played for his father Lou Brunswick at Coldwater before graduating in 1976. Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 23rd round of the 1976 draft, Brunswick played five seasons, reaching Double A West Haven in the athletics organization before leaving the Pros with a lifetime .253 in the middle.

Then came his next career, as a teacher – like his father and many of his six brothers – and as a coach for various sports. Brunswick joined the newly formed Grand Lake Mariners as an assistant coach and transitioned to a head coach position. During his years as captain, Brunswick led the team to two Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League championships before deciding to walk away from the team in 2001.

But instead of resting, he took the opportunity to become an assistant to his friend Romy Schwetterman’s summer baseball team at Coldwater.

“I finished the Mariners and went to Romie and asked if I could help, and he said ‘Sure! come with me! Brunswick said. “He took me on the plane with (assistant) Matt Luggridge.”

When Schwettermann retired after the 2008 season, Brunswick moved to the head coaching position and went on to succeed at Caves of Summer. Coldwater finished second in the state twice during Brunswick’s tenure, most recently in 2015 when they lost to Van Vert in the final at Veterans Stadium. This year’s team enters the state championship at 16-4.

“The ACME is where I have to be right now,” Brunswick said. “When I was with the Mariners, I was in my thirties and that was a constant 24/7/365 mill in terms of recruiting players, and traveling was a lot. With ACME, you can just take the team and train them because Harley (Coldwater spring coach Brian Harlamert) helps me a lot. And he tells me about the guys he wants to see because it’s for him (for the next season). ACME is nice because it keeps your guys together and represents the community while harnessing skills.”

Even if Coldwater lost in the counties, Brunswick planned to be in St. Henry this weekend with his family to watch the games.

“We have rooms booked (at the Romer’s Inn, located right past the field fence at the Wally Post Sports Complex) on Sundays and Mondays. We couldn’t get any on Saturdays,” Brunswick said. “We’ll be there no matter what.”

This year, though, there’s even more reason to attend Brunswick, as he was inducted into the ACME Conference Baseball Hall of Fame, joining his father (part of the inaugural class in 2005) and brother Mark (inducted in 2010).

Brunswick, who will be inducted on Saturday alongside Wapakoneta coach Willie Sametinger and referee Tim Kuehner, who was originally selected in 2020 but had to delay his induction due to the pandemic. “I’ve had 20 years and it’s been a good ride with Coldwater. (Park manager and District 4 commissioner) Toby Severing and the park have been really helpful and the boys have been good. It was fun.”

As a former ACME player and now a coach, Brunswick is delighted that the league has been going strong for more than 60 years.

“What my father started in 1960 and pioneers is still working 60 years later,” Brunswick said. “It’s in operation in Coldwater and the surrounding area. We are proud to keep it going.”

The Brunswick men – Father Lou, Tom and Mark and younger brother Jeff – will have the opportunity to meet again.

“Mark, Jeff and I have always wanted to be half the coach my dad was and still is,” Brunswick said. “If you add up Mark’s wins, and Jeff wins and she wins me, I think we’ve got half as many wins as my dad. I think we’ve got them.”

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