A Tad better than most

Jared MacDonald
[email protected]

Fisher finishing athletic career with name atop Bracken County record books

Tad Fisher’s time at Bracken County is almost over.

The senior will end his athletic career as one of the most accomplished Polar Bears in history after standing out on the football field, basketball court and baseball diamond for the last four years.

But while Fisher will be gone from the Brooksville school, his name will be around for some time at the top of several categories in the record books. He’s still moving up the lists, and became the school’s all-time hit leader, according to records available on the program, with a single to right field in the top of the first inning at Bellevue on Wednesday.

“It means a lot. Hopefully it sets an example for other kids coming up and playing right now that they can do whatever they can think they can do,” said Fisher. “Those records are always there, but you don’t know it until you’re almost there or you’re actually there.”

Most fans wouldn’t know he was coming close to and hitting those milestones.

On the football field he’s running through defenders on his way to the end zone, on the basketball court he’s battling for rebounds and on the baseball diamond he’s fighting off pitches to extend his at bats – whatever it takes for the team to have success.

“I’m proud of Tad. He’s modest, and that’s the way he was raised and brought up. He knows there were great players before him and that there will be great players after him,” said Bracken County athletic director Daniel Fisher, who is also Tad Fisher’s father. “He’s just enjoying his time here.”

Many of the school’s records are now his, and while they may be broken in the future, the folks in Bracken County will likely remember the career of one of the best athletes in school history.

Tad Fisher swings at a pitch during the 10th Region All “A” Classic championship game against Bishop Brossart, Saturday, in Brooksville. (Jared MacDonald, The Ledger Independent)

Tad Fisher’s varsity baseball career started before he even reached high school. He was forced into a game as a seventh grader when then-freshman catcher Cooper Engnes was ejected.

“It was a passed ball at the plate and Tad was dressing varsity at the time, but mainly playing JV, Cooper got thrown out at plate early in the game and I said, ‘Tad, you’ve got to get the gear on,’” said Scooter Charles, the Bracken County baseball coach at the time. “We ended up winning and he had a good game. He had to catch the next two games with Cooper’s suspension and did a heck of a job.”

It’s something he had been working toward for years through summer leagues with Campbell County knothole baseball at Pendery Park and with a number of other teams across northern Kentucky and Ohio over the years.

“Tad’s been playing since T-ball when he was five, six, seven years old and he played every summer after that,” said Daniel Fisher. “It’s been great as a father to watch him play all these years and in high school watching him mature as a player and get stronger, watch his success as a player and his success as a team.”

The Polar Bears finished that season with a 12-8 record after being ousted by Mason County in the 39th District semifinals. Fisher moved into a starting role the following year as an eighth grader.

He had no idea that one day he’d have his name down in the record books – all he wanted to do then was be on the field. He recorded 41 hits in 94 at bats that season to help Bracken County to an 18-13 record and a district title with a 6-4 win over Mason County.

“That young, I was just trying to impress the coach to get as much playing time as I could,” said Fisher. “I was just trying to get better every day to hopefully someday do something like that.”

Fisher finished with 30 hits as a freshman and 44 as a sophomore. He started pitching more as a sophomore and became one of the Polar Bears’ top arms as a junior and senior.

Tad Fisher delivers a pitch during the 10th Region All “A” Classic championship game against Bishop Brossart, Saturday, in Brooksville. (Jared MacDonald, The Ledger Independent)

Those first four seasons on the varsity squad were with Charles as coach — the person he credits most during that time with helping with his swing — while his junior and senior years were with Josh Cummins in charge.

“We would go up late at night and work on my swing. He changed things within my load that helped tremendously. With Coach Charles, it was all about the process. He just helped a lot with that. I’d put most of my hitting success on Coach Charles,” said Fisher. “Now Cummins pushes even harder to get even better and making the team better.”

Charles says he’s kept up with Fisher after leaving to take a teaching job at Rowan County, but he remembers the competitive nature that he saw on the field, even if it didn’t always come off that way.

“I think what makes him really good at the other two sports too, is that not only is he a great athlete, but he’s such a competitor. I got to notice it and some may think that maybe he’s not paying attention to some of the things you say as a coach, but you can hear him talk to other kids and saying what you’re coaching,” said Charles. “He soaks up everything he can. He wants to beat people so bad, his will to win is so strong, that anything he can use to beat you, he’s going to soak it up just in case it’ll help beat you.”

His hit total fell during his junior season to 28, but the team was also only able to get 22 games in because of the weather. Fisher still posted a .378 batting average and sent four balls out of the park.

He had 25 hits in 45 at bats – an incredible .556 average – entering Wednesday’s game. The 25th hit came in the top of the fifth inning at Robertson County on Monday, when he cleared the bases on a line drive to left field for three of his five RBIs on the day. It was the 168th hit of his career, tying him with Ashley Hause for first all-time at Bracken County.

“He does not care about that stuff at all,” said Cummins. “He knew about it because we talked about it before the game, but it wasn’t – he was happy he hit a double and drove in three runs, not because he tied the school hit record.”

Tad Fisher carries the ball during a Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 game against Dayton in Brooksville. (Terry Prather, The Ledger Independent)

On the football field, Fisher took a team approach, too – and a pretty simple one.

“My mindset going into a game? Just put more points on the board than the other team,” said Fisher. “Defense is a huge one too – stopping the other team from scoring. Running back-wise, just get as far as I can go and don’t stop ‘till the whistle blows.”

He played in all 11 games his freshman season, rushing for 356 yards and four touchdowns on 43 carries as the Polar Bears went 3-8. Fisher followed it with a sophomore season where he broke the 1,000-yard mark, going for 1,052 and 10 touchdowns on 98 carries. That season, in the final under Michael Sizemore, the team hosted their first-ever playoff game, but fell, 34-22, to Fairview.

“That’s huge — getting the program started, setting goals for that and making the program better,” said Fisher. “It just feels good to accomplish those things and it’s meaningful to make the program better each year.”

Dave Brausch took over in 2017. Brausch looked online at stats from the previous year and was at the school before his interview, when he met the running back by accident.

“I met Daniel and some other people and said, ‘You guys have some good backs coming back,’” said Brausch. “I didn’t put two-and-two together with that, and Tad was standing there next to us.”

Tad Fisher runs the ball during a Friday, Oct. 5, 2017 game against Bishop Brossart in Brooksville. (Jared MacDonald, The Ledger Independent)

Fisher ran for 1,606 yards that season, compiling 19 touchdowns. He also caught 24 passes for 461 yards and five scores to help lead the team to a 9-3 record and the program’s first-ever playoff win.

During his senior season, Fisher ran for over 1,000 yards again and added 13 scores. He led the team with 36 receptions, adding 399 yards and two touchdowns that way. The Polar Bears finished with a winning record for the third time in his career, after the team struggled to find victories since it was formed in 2003.

“It was a good thing because sometimes you can have good players and not a good team. The fact that we were able to have team success and individual success was important because it made what he did more important,” said Brausch. “It wasn’t just about how many yards he could get on Friday night. It was about how many yards to help us win on Friday night.”

Fisher has his name atop the program’s record book in several categories, including single-season rushing yards, single-season touchdowns and total touchdowns in a career.

Tad Fisher dives after a loose ball during a 10th Region Tournament quarterfinal game against George Rogers Clark, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Maysville. (Terry Prather, The Ledger Independent)

In basketball, Fisher was forced to step up his junior season with the graduation of several key pieces from the 2016-17 team, including all-time leading scorer Austin Crawford, as well as the big bodies of Engnes and Brady Jones.

He played varsity all four years and became a starter as a sophomore, and his scoring rose from 4.6 points in his second year to 8.4 points as a junior.

“I think that’s been our toughest year here. He had to step in, and in all honesty we laid it on him,” said Bracken County basketball coach Jason Hinson. “It was a lot to go through, but all in all, it helped for his senior year for sure. I think going through that season helped prepare him for the following year, no doubt about it.”

Over the years, Hinson noticed some of the same things Charles did about Fisher, who admits to not being a great practice player. The Bracken County coach would make sure to try to have something new for Fisher after he learned what he needed to know to help keep him engaged.

In games, it was a different story.

“When the ball went up or it was kicked or the first pitch thrown, you want him on your side, there’s no doubt about it,” said Hinson.

That rough junior season did help. The Polar Bears went from just five wins to 14. Fisher was third on the team in scoring with 11.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He finished his career with over 700 points and over 700 rebounds.

“My role was to get rebounds mainly, get easy points when I could,” said Fisher. “That was my main goal – do little things and whatever to help the team out.”

Tad Fisher walks off the field at the end of an inning during the 10th Region All “A” Classic championship game against Bishop Brossart, Saturday, in Brooksville. (Jared MacDonald, The Ledger Independent)

Fisher’s athletic career will be over at the conclusion of Bracken County’s final game this season. He plans on working in the summer before heading to Georgia to attend the Southeast Lineman Training Center.

He says he knew he didn’t want to keep playing after high school, but that he needed to find something else to do. Always working, whether it be on an athletic field or at the farm or showing pigs, he knew this would be a good career for him, even if it was a difficult choice.

“It was a tough one to make,” said Fisher. “But yeah, I think I might have made the right decision.”

With the career he’s had and the records he holds – even if he doesn’t seem to care about those things as much – his coaches believe he could be playing at the next level, but know that’s not who he is.

“I think the big thing with him is he wanted to represent his school and his county. That’s what he cares about. I don’t think he’s big on records and he shows that. He should be proud of those things. Those things are hard to come by, so he should be proud, very proud,” said Hinson. “He could go to school and play any sport he wanted, but he has his mind made up. He’s a worker.”

Instead, he’s taking the approach his father and athletic director has seen during the different athletic seasons. Right now, it’s all business trying to reclaim the 39th District baseball title, but when the season comes to a close, it’s on to the next adventure.

“As soon as Tad leaves the field, it’s left on the field. He’s off to the next hobby. Right now it’s showing pigs for FFA. He’ll have a good game or bad game and when we get home it’s ‘Congrats’ or ‘Hang in there,’ then it’s off to the next topic,” said Daniel Fisher.

“Tad knows what he wants to do in life,” added Fisher. “He had good career at Bracken County. Now he’s ready to move on to the next chapter.”

Tad Fisher became the Bracken County baseball program’s all-time hit leader on Wednesday. The senior three-sport star has left his mark in the school’s record books as his athletic career comes to a close.
https://maysville-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/web1_Tad-Fisher.jpgTad Fisher became the Bracken County baseball program’s all-time hit leader on Wednesday. The senior three-sport star has left his mark in the school’s record books as his athletic career comes to a close. Terry Prather and Jared MacDonald, The Ledger Independent