2008 VS alum Henry Bratten will replace Jim Struve as Viking head baseball coach.

Henry and Alyssa Bratten, with children Jayce and Oaklee.

Henry Bratten, who played catcher and pitched for Jim Struve as a VS Viking baseball player, will replace Struve as head coach when the 2018 season begins.

The Vinton-Shellsburg School Board approved Struve’s recommendation to hire Bratten, a 2008 VS graduate, during its meeting on Monday.

“It’s a lot to take in. I have some big shoes to fill,” says Bratten, who played for two years at Ellsworth Community College before finishing his college career at Mount Mercy, where he was also a pitcher and catcher.

Between 2009 and 2016, Bratten was an assistant coach in the VS baseball program for several summers, coaching freshmen or sophomores. He has also served as an assistant wrestling coach.

Bratten has also played for the Vinton Vikings, an amateur baseball team that includes former high school and college players from the local area. These Vikings compete in the Eastern Iowa Adult Baseball League.

As a VS Viking player, Bratten earned All-District and All-Conference honors in his junior and senior years.

Struve said there are several things about Bratten that inspired him to recommend his hiring: His knowledge of the game, his passion for the sport, and his loyalty to the VS program.

“He has what it takes to help Viking baseball continue the success our teams have enjoyed in recent years,” said Struve.

Bratten and his wife, Alyssa, have a son, Jayce, and a daughter, Oaklee.