Rafters’ Bonner creates mound masterpieces as a pitcher and artist
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) -
Last summer, his first with the Rafters, pitcher Brayden Bonner combined two life-long loves: pitching, and art.
“Since I was in elementary school, I would sit there and doodle, and just make little designs,” says Bonner. “And then I guess it started carrying out to the mound, started doing it with turface and water instead of pen and paper.”
Hours before every Rafters home game, the righty reliever is meticulously crafting whatever design comes to mind onto the mound at Witter Field.
“I just kind of tried it out last summer,” said Bonner. “And it turned out to be a hit.”
The Utah native has saved his best work for America's birthday.
“I would probably say both of my Fourth of July designs the last two years have probably been my favorite,” Bonner says.
The mound is Bonner's canvas. His brush depending on the night, is either a small water tank, or a baseball.
But no matter what, for the last two summers, he's cooked up nothing but masterpieces here at Witter Field.
“Well pitching in my mind is an art,” Bonner says. “Like the way that you can manipulate a baseball going towards a hitter. It’s kind of like your artwork on the mound. It’s like your different, kind of like your watermark on it.”
What Bonner’s watermark is, is untouchable. After a dominant summer in 2019 that saw him make the Northwoods League ‘Major League Dreams’ squad, the Dixie State product has an ERA under 1.00 so far this year.
“I have like a perfectionist mentality,” Bonner said. “So it’s like if I’m doing to do something, I’m going to try and do it the right way every single time.”
“It carries into the way I do the mound, and it’s the way I prepare myself to go out and pitch.”
And no matter how he switches the style up, Bonner will always put a "WR" at the front of the mound. A tribute to a city that's been his home, 1,400 miles away from his actual home, the last two summers
“My host family, the people in this town, like I just genuinely like it up here,” Bonner said. “I wanted to come back. The people here, the fans are awesome. They support us in every way possible. It’s just a good baseball town, it’s a good place to play.”
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