Baseball & Faith

A man of faith is severely tested in Running the Bases, a Christian movie about a high school baseball coach. The faith-based movie stars Brett Varvel as Luke Brooks, a winning coach from small-town Arkansas who gets thrust into prominence when he takes the job at a large Dallas high school. While the movie from co-directors Marty Roberts and Jimmy Womble is a bit rough around the edges, Running the Bases has a heart of gold delivering its warm and positive message.

Running the Bases opens with a tragic surprise which defines Luke’s life. Living in rural Arkansas, Luke and his brother Josh dream of playing baseball beyond high school. An unknown genetic heart defect both brothers share ends in tragedy on the field. Forced to quit the sport he loves, Luke ultimately channels his passion for playing baseball into coaching, winning multiple state titles as a high school coach.

Running the Bases is sincerely made for believers, delivering a wholesome message of Christian love and redemption

Dallas school superintendent Michael Jamison (Todd Terry) persuades Luke into coaching at his school. Jamison dreams of state titles. Luke uproots his loving wife Jess and son Josh, moving away from the only place they’ve called home.

A man of deep Christian faith, Luke places more emphasis on molding young men over winning games. Despite early success turning around the baseball team, things become complicated for Luke when Jamison’s son Ryan, one of the team’s big sluggers, hears the message of Christianity from Luke’s family and becomes a believer. That angers the school superintendent, who has issues with religion after losing his wife some years earlier to cancer. Setting up a heated conflict in the final act which gets the pious coach tossed in prison for violating a city ordinance against public displays of faith. Luke stands by his beliefs even as they cost him his job.

The heartfelt story largely works thanks to star Brett Varvel and the younger cast on the baseball team, who contribute levity into what would otherwise be sappy drama. Luke’s tragic background and joy coaching baseball make for a solid first two acts of sports-themed storytelling. Running the Bases drags as it rounds for home, hampered by a few overly dramatic developments which some will see as ham-fisted plot twists. The final act could almost be turned into its own movie as Luke witnesses to fellow prisoners about God and forgiveness.

Running the Bases is sincerely made for believers, delivering a wholesome message of Christian love and redemption without clobbering viewers over the head with corny dialogue. The faith-based film seems designed for inspiration and fellowship, an often touching if saccharine tale of the challenges posed by conflicts between faith and work.

Filled with an enjoyable cast and a nice lead performance, the mostly well-made flick should find an audience. Welcome entertainment in a film market which criminally underserves millions of religious believers.


Distributor Mill Creek picks Running the Bases as their first UHD, filmed on RED digital cameras for maximum clarity and definition. The glossy 1.78:1 presentation is quite nice at 4K resolution, practically flawless and almost sterile. The digital cinematography is fairly dull and uninspired, filmed much like a television show.

Aerial shots of the ball field and rolling pastures of Arkansas highlight lush green tones. The 10-bit HDR offers solid color tonality and reproduction, though there really isn’t anything indicating a more expansive color space over ordinary Blu-ray.

The main feature runs 127 minutes on a dual-layer UHD, encoded in unassuming HEVC. The pristine video naturally lends itself to a clean encode. Outside of a glimpse of chroma noise in the deepest and boldest primaries, it’s nigh perfect.

Running the Bases has sharpness and definition in spades. Colors are rich with inky black levels and a deep contrast. Flesh-tones are consistently even, a realistic and naturalistic shade.


Running the Bases offers a fine 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack with smooth audio and effortless dialogue. The indie production embraces an immersive soundstage with mildly discrete activity. Surround cues are sparingly used beyond the baseball action. Music primarily consists of modern Christian pop, the kind you’d hear on Sundays in church.

This isn’t a flashy demo showcase with knockout bass. Dynamics aren’t pushed beyond a comfortable midrange with occasional bursts of deeper extension.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.


Surprisingly enough Mill Creek gives Running the Bases separate DVD, Blu-ray and UHD releases. This is Mill Creek’s first crack at UHD. The single-disc UHD is region-free and a cardboard slipcover is available in early pressings.

Special features are light, a smattering of deleted scenes which were likely good enough to make the final cut but eliminated for time. Including “The Scheme” deleted scene may have actually improved the film, clarifying why the senior Jamison brought Luke in as a coach.

This may be the first UHD with all its bonus features in 4K resolution.

Running the Bases Trailer (01:00 in 4K)

Don’t Let Him Deleted Scene (01:15 in 4K)

Love Jess Deleted Scene (01:30 in 4K)

The Scheme Deleted Scene (02:41 in 4K)

That Crunching Sound Deleted Scene (00:52 in 4K)

Michael’s Rage Deleted Scene (01:30 in 4K)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the distributor for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit our about us page.

Running the Bases
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


A fine faith-based film with a welcome message set in the world of high school baseball

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 60 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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