Head Coach Henry Bratten speaks to assistants Jim Struve, Jim Morgan and Nate Struve during the team’s first practice on Monday.

A decade after finishing his high school baseball career as a Vinton-Shellsburg catcher, Henry Bratten led his first practice as the team’s new head coach on Monday.

A 2008 graduate who went on to play baseball at Mount Mercy, Bratten has been an assistant coach for several years. Retiring head coach Jim Struve recommended that the VS School Board hire Bratten to replace him in January.

“We’re a young team,” says the new coach. Only three of the 40 players are seniors.

The coaching staff is all new as well. Jim Struve has signed on as an assistant, along with his youngest son, Nathan, a 2017 graduate and member of Struve’s final team as head coach. The younger Struve will coach the freshman team. Also joining the staff this year is John Morgan, who has coached some Cedar Rapids youth teams to state championships, says Bratten.

The Vikings and Coach Bratten open their new season and the new era May 23, when they host East Marshall.