East coast, west coast or even back home in Colorado, it doesn’t matter to Brandon Bailey. He’ll take his game wherever he needs to in order to pursue his lifelong dream.
The Broomfield graduate just finished up a successful sophomore season at Gonzaga (in Spokane, Wash.) when he was informed he’d be packing his bags for the summer to head east. Way east.
Bailey was selected by Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox manager Scott Pickler to join his team in the Cape Cod League and he jumped at the chance to be a part of one of the most storied summer collegiate-level leagues in the country.
“It is probably the best baseball I have ever experienced in my life,” said Bailey, who was the opening day starter for the Red Sox against the Chatham Anglers. “You are playing with the cream of the crop of college baseball and a bunch of guys who are being considered for the MLB draft.
“It’s the place to be if you want to be seen and having a chance to play that kind of talent from all over the country is great experience.”
Just the trip across the country was worth it for Bailey and his father, whose travels took them to Chicago and famed Wrigley Field as well as a trip to Cooperstown. Bailey was able to reminisce about the first time he visited there as a 12-year old.
“It brought back a lot of memories,” he said.
Upon his arrival in Massachusetts, Bailey was wowed by his host family about some of the players they have housed and had pass through their doors over the years, including San Francisco Giants all-star catcher Buster Posey and Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale.
“It’s just amazing how blessed I am to have a chance to play in such a historic league and with the amount of talent that comes through here every single year,” Bailey added.
It’s all part of the end game for Bailey, whose ultimate dream is to play professional baseball.
And like most amateur baseball players with the dream to play in the big leagues, Bailey — who will be draft eligible at the conclusion of his junior season — watched friends, teammates and fellow West Coast Conference competitors get selected in this months amateur draft.
“I can just play each game to the best of my ability and hopefully the rest of it will take care of itself,” said Bailey, who saw another Colorado/Gonzaga product, Marco Gonzales of Rocky Mountain High in Fort Collins, taken in the first round of the 2013 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I’m just trying to put in the work every day to try and improve my draft stock and do that any way I can.”
If he has another season like he did this year at Gonzaga then the scouts are sure to take notice. In 17 appearances, including 13 starts, Bailey went 8-3 with 3.71 earned-run average and 91 strikeouts against just 30 walks in 96.2 innings pitched.
A couple of games really stood out on the docket. In March in New Orleans against Tulane, he stuck out 10 in 2-0 victory over the Green Wave. And then in April he threw a complete game against St. Mary’s, striking out nine in a 1-0 win to go to 6-1.
There were a couple of hiccups at the end of the season against Santa Clara and in the season finale against Pepperdine that will leave a bad taste in his mouth, but will also have him champing at the bit to get back at it in the fall.
“I thought I got back to my true form as a pitcher this year. Last year as a freshman, it was a learning experience for me, I was coming off of Tommy John surgery and not being able to pitch my senior year (at Broomfield),” Bailey said. “I felt like this year I was a little more dominant, kind of like my old self.”
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