In his first year at Penn, Spencer Branigan has already put together an impressive resume.
The freshman sports a .286 batting average, leads the team in runs batted in and also has a team-high three triples — quite a remarkable feat for a 6-foot-5 first baseman.
However, what is perhaps most remarkable is the resume he put together before he came to Penn.
In 2007, Branigan won a basketball state championship in California as a center for The Branson School, also winning two league championships with the team in 2007 and 2009. On top of that, he won a league championship in soccer.
And he played a bit of baseball too. A three-time letter-winner, Branigan served as team captain his senior year.
“My parents always pushed me to play my hardest,” the Ross, Calif., native said.
In 2008, a year in which he took a break from basketball to focus on baseball, Branigan’s plate was still full of activities.
As part of the Branson Chamber Singers music group at his school, he went on a special trip to perform at the White House.
Naturally, as a self-described “pretty tall” guy with a “deep voice,” he sang bass.
“It was actually pretty intimidating,” Branigan said. “We just stood up there for like an hour and a half straight singing Christmas carols to pretty important people walking by.”
And if all this weren’t enough, here’s the kicker: he’s been to 23 different countries.
Growing up in a family that loves to travel, Branigan has visited every continent except for South America. He lived in London for three years, and during one of those — which he believes was sometime between fifth and sixth grade — he and his family took a year off, using London as a “hub point” to travel around the world.
Of all the places he has been, Branigan named Dubai as his favorite, but he also listed two trips to the safaris in Africa and three voyages to Vietnam among some of his more memorable experiences as well.
As far as where he wants to go next, Branigan seems to have been influenced by the not-so-sunny Philadelphia weather this past winter.
“After being in the cold weather, I’d like to go to Hawaii [and] soak in the sun,” he said.
And while Branigan may have enough frequent flyer miles to take the whole team with him, the worldly first baseman is far more valued for what he adds to the team on the field.
“He’s a good worker,” senior second baseman Steve Gable said. “A lot of times, guys coming out of high school are a little bit immature and don’t know how to approach practice … but he does an awesome job with that.”
“Spencer’s going to be an outstanding player,” coach John Cole said. “He’ll be a middle-of-the-order guy in his career here and he’s only going to get better.”
The young Branigan should be able to tap that potential based on his work ethic and the guidance he will be receiving from teammates like sophomore shortstop Derek Vigoa.
Vigoa, who started all 41 games last season and won Big 5 Rookie of the Year honors, knows what it is like to be called on to make a contribution right away.
“I try to mentor him,” Vigoa said. “It’s tough to come into a different element and not know your surroundings and you gotta stay within yourself.”
The near seamless transition Branigan has made has certainly worked in favor of the Quakers (9-9), who open Ivy league play this weekend with two doubleheaders against Yale and Brown.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.