The seeds of what has blossomed into a professional baseball career for Brendon Sanger were planted here in York County.
He developed his love for the game by watching a name very familiar to local baseball fans — Jim Sanger, who just happens to be his father.
Jim Sanger, a 2010 inductee into the York Central League Hall of Fame, was a standout player for the York Yankees and Mount Wolf.
"I watched all the time," Brendon Sanger said, mentioning how he seemingly grew up around the game by tagging along with his father. "I was in the dugout since I was 2 years old, bat boy and dragging the bats after hits. "
Jim Sanger, a York Catholic product who played college ball at Marietta College, relocated his family to Fort Myers, Florida, after rising through the ranks at the YMCA of York and York County to take a CEO position at a YMCA in Florida.
Brendon Sanger was a 13-year-old in the Dallastown School District at the time. He would go on to become the best prep player in the Fort Myers area before becoming a standout with Florida Atlantic University after being passed over for the draft out of high school.
Brendon Sanger realized his baseball dream Tuesday afternoon when he was drafted No. 135 overall, to finish off the fourth round, by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
"Sigh of relief," Sanger said after fielding the call from the Angels surrounded by his closest friends and family monitoring the draft. "Everything I worked for came in that one phone call, it was a great moment."
Much like his father, who is among the top Central League players of all-time in various offensive statistical categories, Brendon Sanger's expertise is at the plate. He cites his abilities at the dish as the reason for his high selection.
"My hitting ... I don't want to sound cocky here, but I can flat out hit," Brendon Sanger said when asked what the Angeles liked most about his game. "That's what they like. My hitting is going to get me to where I want to go."
In 2015, his junior season with Florida Atlantic University, Sanger led the team in batting average (.370), on-base percentage (.492) and hits (85). It was the third straight year he led the team in average and his 10 career triples are an Owls record.
Sanger also put up a 19-game hitting streak this year and also had a team-high 26 multi-hit games. He reached base safely in 66 of his last 68 games and his 56 walks this season were the second most in a season in program history.
For his FAU career, Sanger finishes with a .351 average with 37 doubles and 11 home runs.
Sanger was the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2015, an award that had never been given to a Florida Atlantic player before. He led Conference USA in batting average, on-base percentage, runs scored and walks.
He helped the Owls (42-19) reach the NCAA Tournament this year before ending the season with a second-place finish in the Gainesville Regional.
Sanger said he will start his professional career as a corner outfielder, but could also play one of the middle infield positions.
He expects to sign in the coming days and is excited to report for his first assignment.
— Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.