Brighton baseball turns corner, has high hopes for future
Jun 13, 2018 05:31PM
● By Josh McFadden
Brighton coaches talk to the baseball team after its victory over Roy in the Class 5A state tournament on May 16. (Photo/Chastity Concepcion)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Every team would love to win a state title, but some programs measure progress in other ways.
For the Brighton High School baseball team, the 2018 season brought some success the Bengals hadn’t seen in years. Brighton went 15-13 this season, placed fourth in Region 7 with a 7-8 mark and advanced to the state tournament for the first time since 2014. Not only that, but the Bengals picked up a win at state, prevailing over Roy 6-3 on May 16.
Head coach Andy Concepcion recognized the value of getting the program back to the postseason.
“It was a great experience for our young team and showed all the hard work for us is starting to pay off,” he said. “It’s great for our program to be back in the playoffs and sends a message that Brighton baseball is relevant once again.”
The Bengals’ season came to an end in the Class 5A state tournament’s one-loss bracket on May 19 with a 3-1 loss to Region 5 champion Viewmont. In the game, the Bengals got off to a 1-0 lead early and held that advantage until the bottom of the fifth inning when Viewmont tacked on three runs. That’s all the Vikings needed to hold off Brighton.
Concepcion said a number of players stood out in the losing cause, including pitcher Brennan Holligan and Julian Greenwood. However, Brighton left five runners on base and couldn’t find a way to get enough quality at-bats to drive in the runners.
“It was a tough loss, and the ball didn’t go our way on that day,” Concepcion said. “We were pressing and didn’t allow ourselves to just play loose. We lost the lead late in the game.”
It may have been a disappointing way to end the season, but Concepcion said he was pleased with his players and knows the team has plenty of good baseball ahead of it.
“I told the players to hold their heads up high because we had one heck of a season, and we will be back,” he said. “The boys were dejected because we didn’t want our season to end just yet.”
In a turnaround season, Brighton players and coaches had plenty of reasons to be pleased. The Bengals stole 80 bases and had six players hit over .300 on the year. Concepcion said his group of freshmen got valuable experience and will only continue to improve.
“We’re happy with the season as a whole ad feel we are ahead of schedule,” he said.
Next season, Holligan, a Las Vegas, Nevada, transplant will be back on the mound. Other key returners will be Greenwood, Alex Hansen, Alex Clifford, Thomas Powley, Brennan Potter and Tommy Ellis. Concepcion expects these players to take this season’s lessons and make next year even better.
“Our expectations are to win our region and compete for a state championship,” he said. “We are excited to see our new baseball facility that’s being built and the talented freshmen we have coming to Brighton. We need to continue to get bigger, stronger and faster, and most importantly, trust the process. It’s process over outcome for us.”