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Former Liberty standout reaches the majors

Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune

Former Liberty Hawks standout Connor Brogdon, makes his Major League debut Thursday for the Philadelphia Phillies.


Former All-Madera Tribune Pitcher of the Year, Liberty’s Connor Brogdon, got the call all baseball players dream of — he was called up to the majors.

While training at the Philadelphia Phillies’ alternate training site, Brogdon, one of about 20 players at the site in Allentown, received a phone call from Phillies’ farm director Josh Bonifay and got the news every baseball player wants to hear Tuesday afternoon.

According to a story published on the Phillies’ website, Brogdon was in the middle of playing a video game (Counter Strike) when he received the call.

“I was actually right in the middle of a game of Counter-Strike: [Global Offensive],” Brogdon said in the article, “so I had to kind of flip one earphone off, hold the phone the best I could and listen. ... It was tough because, obviously, I was trying to focus on what Josh was saying then at the same time still compete in the game.”

Brogdon went 6-2 last season with a 2.61 ERA in 51 appearances with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Brogdon made his Major League Baseball debut Thursday with the Phillies. He came into the eight inning with two on and gave up a three-run home run on the first pitch he three. However, he settled down to get a groundout, his first MLB strikeout and another groundout to get out of the inning. He came out in the ninth and struck out a batter. However, he walked the next one and left a fastball up over the plate that was knocked into the bleachers for a home run.

Brogdon, 25 and stands 6-foot-six, throws a changeup, fastball and a cutter-slider hybrid. He wore No. 75 for his Major League debut.

“I’m pretty good at attacking the zone. I try to throw a lot of strikes,” Brogdon said in the article. “I’ll try to use the weapons that I have and attack hitters.”

Brogdon immediately texted his cousin Jonathan Lawson, who he considers the closest thing to a big brother and then called his parents.

Unfortunately, due the pandemic, his parents aren’t able to head to Philadelphia to watch his season’s debut.

“A lot of emotions,” Brogdon said.

The Phillies entered Wednesday’s game with the Baltimore Orioles with a 10.19 bullpen ERA (40 runs in 35 1/3 innings).

In order to make room for Brogdon and another call-up, Blake Parker, the Phillies optioned veteran Nick Pivetta and designed for assignment outfielder Nick Williams and righty Trevor Kelley.

Brogdon pitched at Fresno City College before starring with Lewis-Clark State College. He was a 10th round draft choice in 2017.

“There’s a lot of upside with Connor,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said in an article on the team’s website on Tuesday.

Brogdon just pitched in an intrasquad scrimmage on Monday so he wasn’t available to pitch Tuesday. He didn’t appear in Wednesday’s game, as well.

Brogdon was originally drafted in 2013 in the 40th round by the Atlanta Braves out of Liberty, but elected to go to college. He signed a National Letter of Intent to Fresno State, but went to Fresno City College, instead.

As a junior with the Hawks, Brogdon was electric on the mound with a 1.44 ERA while striking out 74 batters in 63 innings. In his senior year, he had a 1.86 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 60 1/3 innings.

He was a two-time All-Madera Tribune selection and was the Pitcher of the Year in 2013. He was also the North Sequoia League Pitcher of the Year.

While at Lewis-Clark, Brogdon helped the Warriors to their 19th Avista NAIA World Series Title. He was named to the All-Tournament series team.

In his senior year with Lewis-Clark, he went 8-1 with a 2.91 ERA. He struck out a team-high 99 batters in a team-high 80 1/3 innings. In his junior season, he was 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings.

At Fresno City College, he was the Central Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year. He compiled a 1.97 ERA with a 15-1 record in his two years with the Rams.

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