Bengals baseball: Secret weapon arrives at Brighton via Las Vegas
Apr 04, 2018 01:01PM
● By Josh McFadden
Brennan Holligan pitched in the Little League World Series in 2014 while living in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, he’s a member of the Brighton Bengals. (Courtesy Andy Concepcion)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
In the high school baseball ranks, it’s not uncommon for a team to welcome transfers. These new players may come from nearby schools or from out of state. In either case, there’s often an unknown element of how the newcomer will fit in with his teammates and how he’ll acclimate to the team’s system.
The Brighton baseball team is bringing in a transfer this season, and head coach Andy Concepcion has no concerns about what this player will bring to the table.
Pitcher Brennan Holligan has joined the Bengals, and he brings quite a resume with him. The junior comes from Las Vegas where he excelled on the mound for Arbor View High School, playing a key role in the school’s state championship. How good is he? He was ranked the fifth-best player in Nevada in his class and enters the season as an Under Armour All-American. The 6-foot-4-inch player throws a 90-mph fastball. As a sophomore in Vegas, Holligan pitched 26 2/3 innings and posted an ERA of 3.41.
“He’s a big-time player who has played in many big games,” Concepcion said. “He has composure, a big arm and a great bat and glove. He’s a great teammate. He brings confidence and a champion mindset to our team.”
Concepcion knows Holligan well, so it should be no surprise he’s fit in well on the Bengals squad. Concepcion coached Holligan as a little leaguer in Vegas, guiding the team to a Little League World Series appearance in 2013. It was during this run when Holligan led his West squad from Mountain Ridge Little League to a win over a talented team from Illinois. In that game, Holligan pitched four innings and struck out six batters. Also, in the Little League World Series, he hit a home run against a team from Pennsylvania.
It’s not often a high school coach has an All-American on the team. With Holligan on the field, Concepcion figures his team will surprise plenty of people and improve immensely on last season’s four-win output.
“Our goal is to win the state championship,” he said. “He’ll help take us to the next level by his experience, basically pitching in front of 30,000-plus during the Little League World Series. He’ll help improve our team with his leadership and willingness to be the best ever.”
In fact, Concepcion is confident that Holligan’s presence at Brighton won’t just benefit the team while he’s playing this season and next year as a senior. He believes this could entice other talented players in the future to be part of the Bengals’ program.
“It’s huge for our program,” he said. “It sets the tone for all the younger kids that see a preseason Under Armour All-American playing baseball at Brighton. It opens the doors for many of the younger kids that are thinking about coming to Brighton. Things are changing here at Brighton for the better. We are looking to establish ourselves as one of the top programs in the state.”
As for Holligan fitting in with his new team, Concepcion said it didn’t take long for the other players to take him under their wings.
“We have great kids in our program, and they took in Brennan like one of their own,” he said. “He’s family now.”