DANBURY, C.T. — Before graduating from Mahopac High School in 2016, starting pitcher Brendan White was a staple in the Indians’ rotation.
After completing one academic year and baseball season at Siena College, he is spending most of his summer days playing baseball with the Danbury Westerners, a team that is part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
White has excelled to a 3.2 earned-run average with 26 strikeouts over 41.2 innings.
It was also enough to award him the opportunity to represent the southern division in the 2017 NECBL All-Star Game to be held Sunday, July 30, in North Adams, Mass.
“It’s exciting,” White said. “It’s a great group of guys and it’s a lot of fun. I didn’t expect anything, I just wanted to go out every day and do well. That’s one of the things that came with it, and I’m grateful for it.”
An all-star not long after signing back in May, White was able to find a spot on the roster after the Westerners sustained a few injuries to their pitching staff before the season began.
His close friend Joe Drpich, first baseman with Danbury and at Siena, called coach Josh Parrow and suggested giving him a temporary contract that turned into a full-season contract after watching a few practice sessions from White.
“I got pretty lucky with it,” White said. “I’m having a lot of fun here. We see each other every day, so you get close with a lot of people. It can get rigorous, but you have to make it fun and put a smile on your face.”
Parrow, who is also the pitching coach at the University of Bridgeport, reflected on White’s diligence.
“I saw him a little bit in high school,” Parrow said. “In his first bullpen session we were really impressed with him, also with his work ethic. That’s something that you really do notice on day one, that the kid’s committed to getting better every day.”
Working daily with pitching coach Tanner McIntyre certainly can’t hurt. McIntyre built a wonderful collegiate career at Virginia Tech, going 10-0 in his first season.
“The tough part to being a good pitcher here is to keep the ball low and to have something with some sink,” Parrow said. “His fastball moves and is very electric. When it has that good sink, he can be a wipeout-type pitcher.”
Able to live at home in nearby Mahopac while competing for the Westerners, White reports to Rogers Park at 3:45 p.m. for each home game, which start at 6:30 p.m.
For away games, he rides the team bus that leaves Danbury at around 11 a.m. and arrives to the field, preparing for another 6:30 start. Depending on how far the opposing team’s field is, the Westerners sometimes don’t come home until 2 a.m.
“It’s definitely a grind,” White said. “It basically is a job. Some kids are living with host families, but I am lucky enough to live at home.”
The season started in early June and will finish in early August, enough time for Danbury to play about 44 games before the top-three teams in the southern division will make the playoffs.
“We started off a little bit hotter and leveled out,” White said. “It’s a good group of guys and we expect to win. We’re putting in the work every day, so we’re hoping we can make a push for the playoffs.”
Coming off a solid freshman campaign at Siena, the right-hander earned All-MAAC Conference Rookie of the Week in March and for the season had 38 strikeouts over 69 innings.
“I saw a lot of innings, which I was excited about,” White said. “I definitely gained a lot of experience and learned a lot. I’m excited to carry that over into next year and do better.”
White majors in biology/pre-med and plans to move on through medical school with a focus on sports medicine and orthopedics. While academics are the primary focus, White relishes the possibility of playing baseball professionally one day.
“It’s one of those things that I want to do and put my mind to,” White said. “Every day I work towards that goal, but I’m always trying to take care of the academics because anything can happen.”