Junior College Baseball: Granger comes up aces

Brandon Granger, a 2014 San Benito High graduate, has become the ace of the Hartnell College pitching staff.

Throughout his baseball career, Brandon Granger has always been in the background, looking for any opportunity to shine.
Never the alpha star on any of his teams growing up, Granger excelled at an early age but was nonetheless a late bloomer once he reached the varsity level at San Benito High.
In time, however, Granger has developed into a bona-fide ace, the position he has earned with Hartnell College. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound freshman right-hander had two to three pitchers ahead of him on the depth chart before the season started, but he quickly moved into the team’s No. 1 starter’s role several games in.
Granger throws a two-seam and four-seam fastball, along with a splitter, slider and change-up.
On the surface, Granger’s numbers doesn’t do him justice on how effective and durable he’s been this season. Granger is 1-4 with a 5.37 ERA; however, he leads the team in innings pitched, games started and complete games.
He’s had several quality starts (six innings or more allowing four runs or less), and he’s made steady improvement over the past couple of months. Granger is one of the few bright spots in what has otherwise been a dismal season for Hartnell, which entered this week’s action at 7-23 overall and 5-14 in the Coast Pacific Conference.
“I’m doing a lot better than I expected to do this year,” said Granger, whose brother, Bryan, pitches for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. “At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think I’d be a big factor, but then guys got hurt, they quit or they were ineligible.”
Granger said the team started the season with 26 players; however, it’s now down to 19 after several players either quit or were ruled ineligible.
“It’s been a crazy year,” Granger said. “We started with 10 pitchers, and now we have six.”
Granger did what all of the most prepared athletes do when given a chance to make an impression: he delivered. A 2014 San Benito High graduate, Granger had a decent senior year at the Hollister school, pitching 19 innings in 11 appearances.
Granger attributes his improvement to simply getting an opportunity to make starts every week.
“I’m getting more innings and more experience on the mound,” he said. “In high school, there were always four or five guys ahead of me, and I was more of a reliever/closer type of guy. So I just worked hard and here I am.”
Granger has come a long way. During his sophomore year at San Benito, Granger was cut from the junior varsity team. Granger had thoughts of quitting, but in the end, he decided to stick things out and use the experience as a motivating factor to spur himself to new heights.
After getting cut, Granger used the following off-season and worked harder than he had ever done before. Despite the improvement, Granger appeared in just six games in his junior year—none as a pitcher—which could’ve served as another deterrent.
However, Granger put in another solid off-season and came back for his senior year ready to contribute on the mound despite having a number of talented arms ahead of him.
“Getting cut sophomore year put me down, but I fought through it,” he said. “It was tough, and I had thoughts of whether I should play anymore or move on to another sport or to start working and getting paid. I just had to get past all that and come back strong.”

Leave your comments