Photo Credit: Vicente Cardenas
Photo Credit: Vicente Cardenas
Success in baseball for catcher John Bormann lies only within a victory for the Roadrunners team. Everything else that comes along with it: the accolades, the praise and the recognition as one of the top catchers in college baseball, all seem minor in comparison to winning.
Bormann has been receiving acclaim when it comes to individual achievement for his defensive prowess behind the plate as a catcher and for his academic achievement in the classroom as a student at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
With a .295 batting average, a 31-for-51 on stolen base attempts against as a catcher and only three passed balls all season with 14 runners picked off, he’s still managed nearly a 4.0 GPA every semester at UTSA.
“The numbers are the numbers. I’m more into being a leader behind the plate,” Bormann said. “My personal numbers aren’t what’s important, as long as we’re winning.”
In his first season as the UTSA baseball head coach, John Marshall has seen his star catcher excel as a leader, and he knows Bormann is a part of why UTSA was back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.
“I can’t speak highly enough about one, his leadership on and off the field, and two, him as a student. He’s probably in the top two or three students on our team just from a GPA standpoint,” Marshall said. “He’s very accountable and he’s a team captain.”
As a student-athlete, Bormann has clearly defined himself as a leader. He’s been the president of the National Honor Society, a member of the student council and recipient of the Citizenship Award.
“You got to really be organized; you got to really take care of it. It’s not as easy as people think,” Bormann said. “It’s definitely a challenge.”
At Navarro High School in Seguin Bormann led the team to three straight district championships and was voted team MVP all four years as a pitcher, catcher and infielder. Marshall and the coaching staff recruited him to be a catcher and they are reaping the benefits of their decision.
“We’ve been hungry for someone to solidify that position (catcher) and sometimes you find diamonds in the strangest places,” Marshall said. “He’s a great athlete and that’s the one place you start.”
On May 1, Bormann was added to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List, which is given to the top collegiate catcher in the nation for his leadership, athletic ability, character and sportsmanship.
“It was really an honor,” Bormann said, following UTSA’s final practice of the season before heading to the NCAA tournament. “Johnny Bench – he was my favorite player growing up. I was always hearing stories, he was also my dad’s favorite player.”
Bormann did not make the semifinalist list and the disappointment was evident. “Maybe if I was swinging the bat a little better towards conference, I might have made the semi’s,” Bormann said. “Hopefully next year I get a shot at it.”
As a catcher, the responsibilities are endless. There is making sure the defense is in the right position. There is handling of a variety of pitchers, pitches and personalities. There is the athletic need to dive and block difficult pitches in order to save runs and keep runners from advancing. For Bormann, the relationships with his teammates and coaches have made the challenges easier.
“I think I have a good enough relationship to snap at them (teammates), and then we go eat dinner after the game and we’re like brothers again,” Bormann said. “I’ve been able to become a pretty good defensive catcher, and it’s a big part of helping them (pitchers) up on the mound.”
The UTSA coaches and players also have developed a healthy respect for Bormann’s role as a leader with pitchers. “I think where he has developed respect from the pitching staff is just the trust in knowing that they can throw any pitch in any count and that he’s going receive it or block it,” Marshall said. “John has earned his stripes and I think has the belief and trust of everybody, not only out on that pitching mound, but everybody on our bench.”
Although it is only his sophomore year at UTSA, Bormann has already thought about applying his business degree to sports events and tourism management. But his love for baseball and sports has him considering a career as a college coach.
One thing is for sure: Bormann knows his grades are a big part of what will determine his path.