Columbus State pitcher Brodie Leibrandt continuing a family tradition

dmitchell@ledger-enquirerMarch 28, 2013 

Brodie Leibrandt says he doesn’t see the resemblance. Everyone else disagrees.

But whether the Columbus State pitcher throws like his dad, former Atlanta Brave Charlie Leibrandt or not, he still gets solid results for the Cougars.

In seven starts this season, the younger Leibrandt has won only two contests, but both he and coach Greg Appleton believe he has improved on a junior season in which he went 7-2 and was named to the All-Conference second team.

“People tell me I look exactly like (my dad) when I’m out there,” Brodie said. “I guess — I don’t know. I don’t mean to do it, but it just kind of happens. Maybe it’s genetic.”

That’s certainly a possibility.

Brodie, a lefty, is the Saturday pitcher (read: the ace) of the Columbus State staff. Despite the numbers not measuring up to his stellar junior season, he is still pitching deep into games and giving his team a chance to win every time out.

His brother Brandon, also a lefty, is a sophomore at Florida State, where he has compiled a 4-1 record and flirted with a no-hitter earlier this month.

And, of course, Charlie was a southpaw who won 140 games over the course of 14 seasons in the big leagues.

“How unusual is that?” Appleton asked with a laugh. “It’s so hard to find a good lefty, and then you’ve got the Leibrandt’s who have three of them.”

Genetics or not, Brodie said, it was his father’s guidance over the course of his childhood that helped him have a chance to play ball in college.

“It’s the reason I’m here today,” Brodie said. “I don’t know where I’d be. My dad taught me everything I know, taught me the game inside and out.”

Brodie can’t remember the exact time he picked up a baseball.

“Probably when I was still crawling around,” he guessed.

His dad, though, has one memory.

“When Brodie was 4 years old, I was still playing,” Charlie said. “I was rehabbing an injury in 1994 and was trying to make a comeback. I was playing for the Texas Rangers, and I was working out in Orlando. It was before Brodie started school, so he was down there with me. I would do my morning workout, then early in the afternoon, we’d toss the ball around some and take a dip in the pool.

“We had a good old time. That’s a good memory.”

Asked whether his son showed any promise then, Charlie laughed.

“He showed some athletic ability back then,” he said.

Charlie never made it back from his injury and retired from baseball shortly thereafter. One benefit for him was that he could spend time helping his kids to learn the game. It was a nice benefit for Brodie, as well.

Brodie, who was coached by Charlie at Marist in high school, said he’s gotten countless tips from his dad which have helped him to succeed at every level he’s played at.

“He just keeps me balanced,” Brodie said. “The ups and downs of baseball, he’s always there. When things aren’t going great, I can always call him up and get his help.”

It’s something Charlie is equally happy about.

He and his wife try to get to as many of their sons’ games as they can.

“We had a lot of fun watching them grow up and play through high school,” he said. “It’ll come to an end at some point, but we’ve gotten a chance to watch longer than most. We’d like to prolong it as long as we can.”

The end may come after this season, though no one is giving up hope that Brodie might be able to continue to play after school.

For now, though, Brodie is focused on making his senior season last as long as he can.

At 14-15, 8-6 in the Peach Belt, the Cougars have work left to do to give themselves a chance at the conference and, beyond, the regionals.

“Ideally, the goal is to win it all,” Brodie said. “That’s everyone’s dream. That’s my dream. To do that, though, we have to start smaller: Win the conference, make it to regions and, once you get past that, it’s anyone’s game.”

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.

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