Where The Heart Is


Every time Brady Kobitowich makes his way to the mound, he looks down at his wrist to remind him of what’s most important.

He then kisses the simple tattoo design of three lines, with each line representing his mother, grandmother and grandfather.

It’s his way of paying tribute to the three most influential people in his lives, all of whom hadn’t seen him actually play in years thanks to distance and then the COVID-19 pandemic.

That all changed on June 8, 2022, when he was called upon out of the bullpen for his hometown Edmonton Riverhawks against the Portland Pickles.

With his team down 2-1 in the top of the fifth, Kobitowich made his home debut for the first-year West Coast League (WCL) franchise.

“It was awesome – I hadn’t played a game at home in three years,” he told Alberta Dugout Stories: The Podcast. “Being able to pitch in front of them and my friends for the first time in three years – that was awesome.”

It was an emotional performance, as Kobitowich says his mother, Erin, is “everything” to him, having raised him as a single parent.

He would go on to pitch over three innings in the game, allowing just one run on one hit with one walk and seven strikeouts, in a summer season where he posted a 1-1 record with one save and a 4.46 earned run average (ERA) in 14 appearances.

It was a performance his family could be proud of, and one he hopes to replicate as he continues along his baseball journey.


Growing up in the Edmonton area, Kobitowich says it was his grandfather who first introduced him to baseball.

However, his sports love was divided between baseball and hockey, and the decision to choose one or the other didn’t happen until later than most.

Kobitowich says he was invited to a training camp for an Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) team, performed well, but thought he had a better shot of doing something special in baseball.

The first glimpse of him making the right choice was during the 2018 Baseball Canada Cup in New Brunswick, where he tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits while striking out seven batters.

“I just had all three pitches working and I could throw all of them where I wanted,” Kobitowich remembered. “I had a really good catcher behind the plate in Ayden Makarus, who did an awesome job.”

What made it more special for the St. Albert Minor Baseball Association (SAMBA) product was that he had never represented Alberta or played in a big tournament like that before.

It also showed him that he was capable of playing with the best in the country.


With players like Erik Sabrowski, Matt Bondarchuk and Clayton Loranger already having played for him, Cloud County head coach Eric Gilliland was no stranger to reaching out to Alberta’s capital region.

So when Taylor Burns, Ethan Elias and others came calling about Kobitowich, he clearly listened.

According to the 6-foot-1, 190-pound hurler, schools weren’t lining up at the door to bring Kobitowich to their programs, so he quickly said yes.

While he had some success on the mound, going 2-0 with a 6.00 ERA in ten appearances in 2021, Kobitowich admits it was challenging being away from home for the first time, compounded by the pandemic.

“My freshman year was really tough,” said the Prospects Academy and AHP Academy product. “I just live with me and my mom, and I grew really close to her, so moving away was really tough and I ended up going home for only a couple of weeks that first year.”

In 2022, his second spring with the Thunderbirds, he made 11 appearances, posting a 1-0 record with a 9.39 ERA.

Kobitowich says an early-season illness made him lose his role on the team and made him start doubting himself.

“I just never got on my feet,” he said. “It was really difficult for me to get out of that slump, as I’d have a couple of good outings, then a couple of bad outings, and I couldn’t find that consistency.”

Despite the challenges, Kobitowich secured a letter of intent with the Niagara Purple Eagles.


With the help of Cloud teammate Evan Wilde, Kobitowich says he has been able to acclimatize himself to his new surroundings rather quickly.

Like Cloud, Niagara is known for its recruitment of Canadians, which made the surroundings very familiar, and allowed for Kobitowich to define his role early on.

“I’m kind of just a jack-of-all-trades,” he said. “I can start, I can long-relief, I can close – I will do whatever Coach (Rob) McCoy wants me to do and I’ll succeed in whatever role I get.”

Kobitowich has been used in a variety of roles this season, appearing in 13 games, posting a 4-0 record with a 5.01 ERA, striking out 15 batters in 23-plus innings of work.

He knows he has a lot of things left to work on, including a new slider that he developed during the offseason.

The Criminal Justice major hopes his story helps inspire future baseball players, helping them understand that you have to find what works for you.

“If you’re just doing the same thing as everyone else on the team, it might not work for you like it does for someone else,” he said.

“If you can find what works for you, that’s how you take your career to the next level.”

His journey is expected to make another trip through his hometown with the Riverhawks this summer, where he will once again be able to pitch in front of his biggest fan.

“My mom means everything to me,” he reiterated. “I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today without her.”


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