By Philip R. Devlin
(June 12, 2023) — I know firsthand how dedicated and hard-working Mark Brookes has been over the past 48 years in building the HK baseball program, as I was his assistant coach for both the JV and Junior High programs for nearly ten years after the school opened. I remember that in the days before recycling became the norm, a company in Dayville, Connecticut used to buy glass bottles for cash. Coach Brookes borrowed a truck from his dad’s construction company and drove the bottles up to Dayville numerous times to raise money for the team.
Over time, and with help from the school’s groundskeeping crew and countless parents, assistant coaches, and ballplayers, the facility improved by leaps and bounds and so did the baseball program. Now Coach Brookes has 743 wins as a high school baseball coach, the second highest total in Connecticut high school baseball history! Amazing! And now he has his first state championship title with a 6-2 win over Coventry on June 9, 2023.
I have talked to Mark twice since the win and have been personally contacted by former colleagues, players, administrators, and teaching colleagues asking me to send them Mark’s contact information. They all said the same thing: “Nobody deserves this more than Mark. He is such a good guy and has worked so hard.” They got that right. This morning Mark told me that he has been contacted by more than 150 former players, and he is trying to answer each one personally. Amazing!
Here is the roster of this year’s state champions.
# Name Position/Grade
1 , Joseph Giaccone , OF , 12
2 , Colton Merola , C , 10
3 , Ryan Erskine , Inf/P , 11
4 , Todd Butler , OF/P , 10
5 , Riley Gordon , OF/P , 11
6 , Evan Aubin , Inf , 10
7 , Maxwell Selmer , OF , 10
8 , Alexander Blade , OF , 11
9 , Matthew Shea , Inf/P , 10
10 , Sawyer DiMatteo , Inf , 10
11 , Blake Kamoen , Inf/P , 11
12 , Callen Powers , Inf/P , 12
13 , Jackson Pray , C , 12
15 , Luke Mauri , OF , 11
16 , Dylan Coon , Inf , 12
17 , William Gordon , Inf/P , 12
18 , Chase Bruno , OF , 9
Varsity Assistant- Josh Cofield
Varsity Assistant- John Fraser
Junior Varsity Coach- Andrew Mead
Trainer- Alex Krasniewski
Coach Brookes’s commitment to the program has been unwavering for 48 years. The number of students and players who have benefited from his kind and thoughtful ways and his baseball expertise is enormous and is a source of great community pride. All of his former players, colleagues, and coaches got it right: Nobody deserved this championship more than Coach Mark Brookes!
Photos by Raye Brookes