TERRE HAUTE, Ind. October 10th, 2022 - The Terre Haute REX would like to extend their congratulations to fan favorite and two-time all-star Alec Brunson, as he signed with the Utica Unicorns of the United Shore Professional Baseball League after the Prospect League season concluded and he finished up the season with the Unicorns continuing his success. The USPBL is an independent baseball league located in Detroit, Michigan.
Brunson has been a part of the REX since 2020 when the Prospect League shut down because of COVID-19, but played for the REX both in 2021 and 2022 saying, “I really enjoyed the city of Terre Haute and the culture of the fans, especially how the organization was run by Matt Chavarria & AJ Reed as well… They both ran summer ball how I wanted to play summer ball by having a lot of fun and going with the flow of the game. It is much more relaxed than the collegiate season & it reminds me of playing ball and having fun in little league.” When talking about what was a factor in returning to play back-to-back summers he stated, “I also really enjoyed my host family, that was a major reason why I came back. My host family took me in as a part of their family & it was something I wanted to be a part of when thinking where I wanted to be for summer ball.”
In his freshman season at the University of Purdue Fort Wayne, he made 46 starts out of 49 games played and went for a .260 batting average with 18 RBIs and one homerun. After the COVID-19 pause, he then resumed his collegiate career at the University of Saint Francis where he would spend the rest of his career playing out. Brunson commented on his transfer by saying. “It was definitely a change, I was going from one team to another, and I didn’t know how this new team would bring me in… it all happened so fast, and we clicked like that right off the bat. We played as a team really well and I got to play my game differently there. We had a chip on our shoulders because we knew we weren’t the best team in our conference, and we used that underdog mentality and, in the end, it brought us all closer to have fun playing together as a team.” While at the University of St. Francis, Brunson's career statistics increased to a .317 batting average to go along with six home runs and 39 RBIs in 53 games.
Brunson was selected to the Prospect League All-Star team in 2021, he finished the season with a .267 batting average while also putting up 13 home runs and 40 RBIs. When asked what his mindset was coming into his second year after being an all-star Brunson said, “I think the biggest thing that was different was I knew that I didn’t have another year of eligibility left in college & this could be potentially my last year playing baseball. So, I really just went out there & played it like it was my last game every day knowing that it could’ve been.” He had yet another fantastic year with the REX in 2022, improving his batting average to .354 to go along with 12 bombs and 59 RBIs, an increase of 19 more from the previous year. He went on to finish by stating, “... I just knew that if I played well & played to the ability that I know I’m capable of I could maybe get picked up by a team. I knew I had to play at a higher level than I did last year & I had to keep grinding through the season.”
For the record, in Alec Brunson’s last at bat for the REX in their last game in Danville, he hit an absolute bomb in left center to what he thought at the time could be his last at bat in his baseball career.
In an interview with Coach Matt Chavarria, he commented on Brunson's play this season & the news of his signing by saying, “Knowing Alec had been a part of the team the previous year, and after seeing his stats from last year it is kind of hard to turn away a player with valuable assets like that. During the process of recruiting before the season started something I wanted was some older veterans that can help and mentor those younger guys. Most importantly I wanted guys that wanted to play baseball and Brunson was the perfect example of both of those characteristics.”
Coach Chavarria continued, “Alec is a super relaxed & really good kid, he's a good teammate to have, he's super responsive to everyone else & he was super helpful to everyone that was around him & that's always an intangible that's hard for coaches to get out of kids. You know when you get someone like that it's a real treat because they're an extension to you. As a coach you can give them info that they can disperse throughout guys on the team. What he did on the field this year is unreal to be consistent like that, especially the sport of baseball being so hard.” When asked about the success Brunson had this year Coach Chavarria, he went on to say, “He led almost every offensive category this year so after finding out he didn't win player of the year it kind of shocked me. Again, Alec Brunson is a super valuable asset to any team & I’m super happy for him to get signed & have a chance to play pro ball. One thing I told him at the beginning of the year was to come play & see what can happen & see what you can do & try to get him to the next level. He has every tool in his bag he needs to continue to play & so far has shown he's been valuable to the team with his productivity.”
Coach finished with a small bit of advice for Alec to take with him, “Hopefully he keeps carrying that momentum & keeps going to have a long, prosperous, professional career. He's an athlete, he can play anywhere on the field. I had him in the outfield & he played 3rd base towards the end of the season. He may not be the fastest player out there but he's very baseball savvy in terms of being able to read balls & a good first step. It was good to have him on the team and have him help us fight for a playoff spot. I wish the best of luck to him, and it’ll be a life-long relationship with guys like Alec.”
His impact on the locker room was just as important as it was on the field. He has been a vocal leader in the dugout never afraid to learn from his teammates and coaches and at the same time being the veteran leader giving the younger guy’s advice and picking them up if needed to. Partner/General Manager Bruce Rosselli had to say, “Had Alec played the 2020 season he would have been with the REX three seasons in a row. Alec was a leader in the clubhouse and on the field, especially in the 2021 season leading the REX in statistics, but this season he exploded to lead the league in multiple categories. Similar to giving an employee a recommendation for a job I didn’t hesitate to get his name out to contacts in independent minor leagues to play pro ball. I am super excited to see his professional career begin. And I would just want to say good luck Alec, we're all behind you here at the REX!”
Alec Brunson was in top contention for the Mike Schmidt Player of the Year in the Prospect League towards the end of the season as he almost notched the Triple Crown. Brunson led the entire league in RBIs, he was second in the league in total home runs, and third in total batting average. Brunson was beat out by Eddie King Jr. from the Alton River Dragons. The REX are eager to follow Alec as he begins his professional career and wish him the best of luck. We are confident that he will continue to be an all-star on and off the field for years to come, just as he was an all-star in the city of Terre Haute!