I met Brandon Bentson last month while interviewing Coach Hause at Cal State San Marcos. I asked Brandon a few questions that day and knew right away he would be a great candidate for the player spotlight. I wish every young player could read his answer to my question on “when did you know you had the ability to play at the college level”. I can’t wait for Lefty to read Brandon’s inspiring words. I know you will enjoy them too.
Brandon is a 20-year-old junior at Cal State San Marcos where he hit .339 last year. He graduated from Ranch Bernardo High School in 2012 where he batted .430.
Brandon: First base
TheRustyArm: When did you start playing baseball?
Brandon: I started playing baseball when I was about three years old in a recreational tee ball league in Rancho Bernardo.
TheRustyArm: When did you start playing travel baseball?
Brandon: I started playing travel baseball when I was thirteen years old for the California Lookouts and then played with the Encinitas Gamers in high school.
TheRustyArm: Did you or do you play any sports in addition to baseball?
Brandon: I did play football, basketball, and roller hockey along with playing baseball as a kid. I stopped playing them when I picked up travel baseball at age thirteen when baseball began to take up all of my time.
TheRustyArm: Do you or did you have private instruction or lessons?
Brandon: I used to take lessons for pitching but I never really had any other private instruction other than that. When I was usually in a slump I would work with one of my coaches or my mom would take me to the local batting cage.
TheRustyArm: What quality or trait do you believe got you this far?
Brandon: I believe the trait that has gotten me this far is my competitiveness. When I was a kid I always wanted to win. No matter if it were a video game or baseball game I always would give it my best effort for my team to win the game. Another trait I think that really helps to have is remaining positive. Just taking something positive out of everything that you do on the field everyday, whether it be good or bad.
TheRustyArm: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got with respect to baseball?
Brandon: The best advice that I’ve ever got with respect to baseball was a quote from a Dr Seuss book actually. The quote is, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is truer than you.” My coach in high school, Sam Blalock, gave us this quote at our final practice before our C.I.F. championship game in 2011. This quote basically means that the best person and player that you can be is yourself. This piece of advice helped me realize what I was capable of on the field and to stay within myself when playing the game of baseball and in life as well.
TheRustyArm: When did you know you had the ability to play at the college level? And what made you think so?
Brandon: During my Sophomore and Junior year in high school I really struggled playing and got really down on myself and didn’t think that I had a chance to play college baseball. So by my senior year I just completely forgot about college baseball and told myself to have fun playing my final year of baseball. It turned out to me my most productive year I have ever had. My coach ended up calling coach Pugh at Cal State San Marcos and got me a spot on the fall roster which didn’t guarantee a spot on the spring roster. But when I really knew I had the ability to play college baseball was when I received a call from the University at Albany (a NCAA division 1 school in New York) the summer after my senior year. They were very interested and offered me a scholarship. I ended up turning it down to come to Cal State San Marcos when coach Pugh guaranteed me a spot to play. I am very fortunate to be playing still.
TheRustyArm: Can you name a coach or mentor that has been instrumental in your development and how?
Brandon: My coach from Freshman baseball, Dan Kelly, taught me almost everything about the physical part of baseball and how to play the game fundamentally sound. And my varsity head coach Sam Blalock really helped with my development in the mental game of baseball.
TheRustyArm: What is one piece of advice you would give to young players today?
Brandon: The advice I would give is to just go out and have some fun playing the game of baseball. That’s about the only thing you can control in this game. As long as you are having fun playing the game the rest will take care of itself.
TheRustyArm: If you could go back to your days of youth baseball would you do anything different?
Brandon: I’m not really sure I would do anything different to be honest. Everything that has happened from youth baseball has really helped form my identity as a person and a baseball player.
TheRustyArm: If you could go back and tell your 12-year-old self something, what would it be?
Brandon: I think I would tell my 12-year old self to have confidence in yourself. The one thing that I have realized over the years is that if you do not believe in yourself then why would anyone else believe in you? When I became confident in who I was it made me a better player and person.
TheRustyArm: What is one thing your parent(s) have done or said that supported you in baseball?
Brandon: My parents have been here to support me since day one and I know that they will be here with me until my career is over to support me. They’ve pushed me to work hard and give it my all and helped me through all the slumps and bad times I have went through in this sport. I wouldn’t be playing baseball today if it weren’t for the love and the support by not only my parents but my entire family.
TheRustyArm: What do you hope to accomplish in your baseball career?
Brandon: I hope to continue playing baseball after college. I don’t think there would be anything cooler than getting a call from a Major League Baseball team saying that they have selected me in the draft. It would be a very surreal feeling for not only me but my family as well. I am still very far from that being a reality. But until then I am just going to continue to work hard and have fun and let the rest take care of itself.
TheRustyArm: If you could do anything else besides play baseball, what would it be?
Brandon: If I were to do anything besides play baseball I would probably either coach or be a sports journalist. I love talking any type of sport and helping people learn the game. I don’t think I could have a job that did not involve sports. (I can relate, Brandon)
Great stuff, right?!
Go see Brandon and the CSUSM Cougars. Lefty and I will see you there!