Jacqueline Hochheiser, Corporate Communications
Devin Braswell is an Inside Sales Representative Manager for Mini-Circuits at the company’s location in Branson, Missouri. While he is a team player and major supporter of his Mini-Circuits family, managing customer relationships and helping with all the complexities of order fulfillment, he also moonlights as a heavy hitter in a pro-structure wood bat baseball league. An avid baseball fan and player since the age of 4, Devin picked up the bat after a 12-year hiatus to compete with Branson’s Grip n’ Rip Baseball League.
Braswell played baseball as a pitcher and an outfielder most of his life up until he graduated college at the age of 22. One of his fondest memories from his baseball days was that both his parents had been super-star supporters at almost every game he played. Braswell’s dad would often travel across the country with him for college games. Two years ago, Braswell dusted off his bat and glove to try out for a local league he had recently discovered called Grip n’ Rip, which is a pro-structure wooden bat league. While Grip n’ Rip has just finished its seventh season, Braswell completed his second consecutive season playing for the league on Sunday, October 30.
As opposed to high school and collegiate baseball where players use aluminum bats, the wooden bat is the more traditional way of playing, which is why pro leagues use wooden bats and not aluminum. Each year, Braswell and his fellow baseball players try out anew for their respective positions. About 150 players try out for the league, which is comprised of six teams of 15 players. Only 90 of the 150 players trying out will make the cut. After tryouts, the six coaches and the league commissioner sit down and start drafting their lineups. Players that made the league in previous years may end up on different teams with different people.
Braswell played for the Moon City Mavericks his first season with the league in 2021. That year, the Mavericks won eight of the nine games they played, the first eight-win team in the history of the league. They then went on to win finals that year against the Ozark Mountain Ducks four to one. “I threw the first 3 innings of that championship game. It was a sweet victory!” says Braswell.
This year, Braswell played for the Branson Showmen. The team made it to the finals, which was held at the U.S. Ball Park in the Ozarks, a convenient five-minute commute from his home. Most games during the season host about 50 to 100 fans for the 30 players on the field, but on the day of finals, the turnout can reach over 500 people. The Branson Showmen came into the finals after a very competitive season with five wins and five losses, and ultimately lost five to four to the Springfield Metropolitans.
“Of course, the objective is always to win, but it was a great experience, and I’m thankful that my family could be there to participate,” said Braswell. “It’s one of those really interactive type of events and they do a good job of getting the crowd involved. They had my wife come out with my daughter and pop a water balloon on her head. My son Dean threw the first pitch, and all three of my kids got to run the bases.”
Braswell’s good sportsmanship and grit shine as much in baseball as in parenthood and his work at Mini-Circuits. A large part of competing in anything is knowing how to accept defeat with grace and integrity.
“I will say this – I can’t think of other instances that my kids have seen me lose at something that I take seriously, so it was good for them to see me process defeat and still be proud of what our team accomplished along the journey.”
His philosophy on victory and defeat, as well as teamwork translate from the baseball field to the office at Mini-Circuits. Braswell strives to provide constant support for his teammates regardless of if they are having a good day or a bad day, and to represent a person that can be an example for others.
“I’ve always been a lead by example kind of person,” said Braswell. “I feel that my responsibility on the baseball field is that I’m giving it my all at all times and I’m there to support my team no matter what, and I do that even when I’m in the building at Mini-Circuits. If my teammates are having a great day, I’m yelling louder than anybody to let them know I’m all about it, and I try to lift them up if they are having a bad day.”
Ultimately, whether in baseball or Mini-Circuits, Braswell says that the most important aspect of any experience is the friends you make because those people become your support and your family. To join the Grip n’ Rip league, players must be 21 and older, which makes for quite the diverse playing field with participants playing up until their 50s and Devin found himself forging unexpected friendships. Similarly, he believes that the Mini-Circuits team is one of the main reasons he loves working for the company. The support that he receives in return inspires him to try his best each and every day.