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Brayden Krenzel knows Tennessee baseball is ‘the place to go’
Tennessee’s 2024 recruiting class is ranked No. 1 in the nation thanks to plenty of incoming talent including pitcher Brayden Krenzel. (Courtesy: @braydenkrenzel/Instagram)

Brayden Krenzel knows Tennessee baseball is ‘the place to go’

DUBLIN, Ohio (BVM) – Brayden Krenzel is a multi-sport athlete who has played football, basketball and baseball during his time at Dublin Jerome High School. However, there is one sport, and one position, that has long stood above the rest.

“God has definitely blessed me with a pretty live arm,” Krenzel said. “He’s also blessed me with some pitch ability.”

Growing up, Krenzel grew a passion for baseball as he played locally with the Dublin Green Sox and later the Columbus Cobras. During his 12U season with the Cobras, Krenzel had his first chance to shine on a national stage at a tournament in Alabama. That’s when the reality set in that something special might be in store for him on the baseball diamond.

“That’s kind of where I realized maybe I could start putting in more time, more effort, really becoming great at this sport I enjoy playing,” Krenzel said.

Similar to one of his MLB idols, Max Scherzer, Krenzel has a big arm, a strong knowledge of what he wants to do when on the mound, and a poise that helps keep him calm and collective in big moments. 

Some of those same traits were also possessed by his father, Craig Krenzel, during his athletic career. 

Craig is a local legend around the Columbus, Ohio area, as he was the quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the early 2000s, leading the program to a national championship in 2002. He went on to play in the NFL briefly with the Chicago Bears, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2004 NFL Draft, as well as the Cincinnati Bengals

Craig Krenzel Ohio State Buckeyes football Brayden Krenzel Tennessee Vols baseball Dublin Jerome High School Celtics
Brayden Krenzel has been able to learn from the athletic career of this father, Craig Krenzel, who won a national championship with the Ohio State Buckeyes. (Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Although he plays a different sport, Brayden has always looked up to his dad, taking in any advice he has had to offer from his own athletic career.

“Some of my bigger role models, first off it’s my dad,” Brayden said. “He played sports at a pretty high level, and he’s been able to teach me a bunch of great things about that. I’ve always kind of tried to follow in his footsteps a little bit, even though it’s a different sport.”

Like his dad, Brayden will soon become a college athlete, looking to leave his own mark on a high-level Power 5 program. 

During his recruiting process, Brayden attended several camps, figuring out exactly what it was he was looking for in a program. While the likes of Virginia and Louisville also stood out, there was one choice that felt right in the end for the right-handed pitcher.

“It was actually a really intriguing and fun process,” Brayden said. “I stayed in contact with a lot of them … Tennessee was the place to go.”

For some time, the Dublin Jerome junior has had visions of playing college baseball in the south. Once he got to Knoxville, he realized that the atmosphere and culture around the Tennessee program was unmatched.

“What really stood out for me is the whole atmosphere they’ve been building down there,” Brayden said. “That competitive atmosphere, it looks like they’re having a bunch of fun. Definitely accountability there as well.

“As a young kid, I always heard about how great the baseball is the further you go south. So, kind of following that dream of mine and going down there and competing at the highest level there was definitely a draw as well.”

While Brayden will follow in the footsteps of his father as a Division I athlete in over a year, he has also become a well-known athlete around Columbus himself. 

Going into his freshman season at Dublin Jerome, Brayden was optimistic for what his future would hold. While his team eventually suffered a loss earlier than they were hoping in the district semifinals, it was a positive season for the young pitcher who earned second-team all-district honors.

Brayden Krenzel Tennessee Vols baseball Dublin Jerome High School Celtics Ohio
Brayden Krenzel went 3-3 with a 2.12 ERA and 54 strikeouts in his sophomore season at Dublin Jerome. (Courtesy: @braydenkrenzel/Instagram

“I went into it with a pretty open mind,” Brayden said. “Just going out there and competing everyday with everything I had was definitely a big part of the mindset that freshman year.”

By sophomore year, Brayden was tasked with a bigger leadership role for the Celtics, becoming a team captain. While his squad ended up near a .500 finish, Brayden continued to prove his value on the mound, even with his opponents now fully aware of his talent level. On the year, the pitcher went 3-3 with a 2.12 ERA and 54 strikeouts, earning first-team all-conference and all-district honors.

“Going into that second year, I had a little bit more of a leadership role,” Brayden said. “Being able to lead the team, not only with my skills, but also with words and actions.

“There was a little bit of a target on my back from the name that I had made during the summer. So I went into every game with a chip on my shoulder, knowing that I didn’t have to prove anything, but performing to the best of my abilities.”

Coming off another productive offseason, Brayden was poised for an even better year as a junior. He has continued to be a leader on and off the diamond for the Celtics, while also working on improving the little things in his game.

“My goals this season were to not only provide for my team, but also to work on some of the things I want to work on,” Brayden said. “Really crispen up my mechanics, potentially adding in a second breaking ball.”

One of the things that has made this season even more special for the star pitcher and his team is their new coach: Tim Saunders.

Saunders is a local legend, as he coached at rival Dublin Coffman for 33 years. He retired in 2020, but returned this season as Dublin Jerome was searching for someone to fill its coaching role.

“When I heard that he was going to be our new head coach, I was real excited,” Brayden said. “I had always heard great stories about him, and when I’d go over to hit with some of my buddies at Coffman, he would always be there. He would always make a joke about how I should move and come play at Coffman for him.

“It’s been an awesome season. He brings a different kind of energy. He’s always out there in the drills with us. When we’re running, he’s running right there next to us. And he just brings kind of a new perspective, not only on the baseball side, but also the mechanical side of things.”

One of Brayden’s biggest goals towards the end of this season was to get Coach Saunders his 600th win, which the Celtics recently did with a 13-3 victory over Columbus South in the OHSAA Division I district tournament.

Following his high school season, Brayden will look to continue to solidify his game, and perhaps replicate what were very strong summer and fall seasons in 2022. That began by playing with Bo Jackson Elite, a program that has helped take the junior’s game to the next level.

“The Bo Jackson program has helped me out a lot,” Brayden said. “Everything from getting the space to workout during the winter, working on certain mechanical things, to getting looked at by different colleges these past couple of years as well.”

Meanwhile, Brayden also had the opportunity to be part of the Cincinnati Reds Scout Team last fall where he played up a year with some of the top talent across the Midwest in the Class of 2023. Getting to play against some of the best competition regionally, but also nationally at a tournament down in Jupiter, Florida, provided an invaluable experience for Brayden.

“It was a real honor to be chosen to play on that team,” Brayden said. “It was a great experience to play up with those guys against some of the best competition.”

The success Brayden continues to find between both high school and travel baseball has him ranked in the top 100 nationally in the Class of 2024, and as the No. 2 player in his class in Ohio, a motivating factor as he continues to rise the ranks.

“Those are definitely cool to see,” Brayden said. “At the end of the day, I can only control how I go out and compete when it’s my time to play. Giving the most of my abilities every time I’m out there is what really motivates me to become better.”

Over the next few years, development will continue to be the name of the game for Brayden. It’ll begin with one last season at Dublin Jerome in 2024, a year in which he hopes he leaves his imprint on a program he has truly come to love.

“One of the marks that I want to leave on the program is establishing a culture of hard work and accountability,” Brayden said. “Set up a good culture for the years to come, something that lives on long after I leave the school, and hopefully affects a lot of other kids in a positive way.

“I’m just looking forward to playing one last time with my classmates I grew up with.”

Brayden Krenzel Tennessee Vols baseball Dublin Jerome High School Celtics Ohio
Brayden Krenzel hopes to continue proving his talent during his time in Knoxville. (Courtesy: @braydenkrenzel/Instagram)

From there, it’s possible Brayden has to make a decision between college and the pros. As of right now, Tennessee is fully in the plans of the talented pitcher, as he will join what is currently ranked as the nation’s top 2024 recruiting class. Like most every stop of his baseball career thus far, he is hoping to use his time in Knoxville to keep getting better while also proving himself.

“I’m really looking forward to joining a high-level, competitive program like that,” Brayden said. “My goals for when I’m down there are to work my butt off, get bigger, stronger, and push myself to really see what I’m made of.”

However, since he was little, Brayden has been chasing a dream of becoming a professional athlete, just like his father. No matter when it comes, the talented pitcher seems destined for the opportunity, and plans to take full advantage of earning a shot at the big leagues.

“That’s also been a dream of mine since I was younger,” Brayden said. “Seeing those players on TV, I thought, ‘Wow, it’d really be cool to play under those lights in front of that many people.’ So that’d be awesome for sure.

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, and giving up things that people usually look forward to, to maybe getting better and taking those next steps to becoming a better overall player.”

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