The Kenwood varsity baseball team will open its 2020 season with a new head coach, Romey Bracey, but the CPS has postponed the season’s opening games indefinitely. The Broncos were scheduled to open the season on March 16 against Carver High School.
Bracey, a graduate of Mt. Carmel High School and Southern University, was hired last fall to take over from Coach Christopher Green. He previously coached Mt. Carmel’s sophomore team, and he also holds a position with the White Sox Ace Academy program for inner city youth.
James Malnati of the Chicago Public Schools confirmed that all sports competitions were suspended until further notice.
Bracey said the cancellation was necessary.
"It’s extremely unfortunate," said Bracey, "But you have to take the necessary
precautionary steps to make sure everyone is safe."
The announcement came after the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on March 12 that it was cancelling all remaining winter postseason tournaments – Boys Basketball, Scholastic Bowl, Drama & Group Interpretation, Music Organization, Debate and Journalism – due to concerns of the spread of the coronavirus.
Bracey said he still is looking forward to the challenge as Kenwood’s new coach.
"I like to think that I have my own (coaching) style," said Bracey. "I'm (more of) a baseball historian, based on the guys I learned from." He said he studies the philosophies of coaching greats such as John Wooden, Phil Jackson and Bill Belichick.
Bracey was a star second baseman at both Mt. Carmel and at Southern University (in Baton Rouge, LA.), where he won first team all-conference honors.
After graduating from Southern in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Bracey coached three seasons at Harlan High School on Chicago's South Side and he attended Major League Baseball scouting school in 2011.
Bracey takes over a team whose star player, catcher Brandon Green, graduated and now plays for Bracey's alma mater, Southern University.
Still, Bracey believes he has inherited a group of talented players led by Zamarion Hatcher, Trey Walker and Brendan Bradford.
Hatcher, a junior, already has a scholarship to attend the University of Michigan in the fall of 2021. He is a very good all-around player and who will play both right and center field this season. Hatcher should hit for both power and average.
“He currently has a scholarship offer to the University of Michigan," said Bracey. "[He has a] great work ethic."
Bracey said senior center fielder Trey Walker has great speed, quality defense, and is a great contact hitter. He praised Walker's strong work ethic, as well.
Bradford, another senior, will head the Broncos’ pitching staff with his mid-80s fastball and his senior leadership ability.