By Kyle LoJacono
If there is a pitching gene, the Brandt family must have it.
Aaron Brandt is a Pasco High graduate and is currently a junior pitcher for Saint Leo University’s baseball team. Courtney Brandt is a senior pitcher for the Pirates softball program, as is freshman Taylor Brandt for the junior varsity squad.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Aaron said. “We all talk about pitching. There were always high expectations in the household. I started pitching at age 9, and I’ve always been a pitcher since then.”
All three are right-handed pitchers and have been playing baseball/softball for most of their lives.
“We moved here from Tampa when I was about 6, so I played a year or two there,” Aaron said. “Then I was in the Dade City Little League from T-ball on up. I started around age 4 and so did Courtney and Taylor.”
Courtney started playing baseball and did not pick up softball until about age 10.
“I didn’t really know softball. I was a baseball player,” Courtney said. “As I kept playing it, I really enjoyed softball and have learned to love it.”
Aaron and Taylor both said they always wanted to pitch, but Courtney found her way into the position.
“I didn’t want to be a pitcher at first, but they needed one for my Little League team,” Courtney said. “Ever since then, I’ve liked it.”
The move has paid off, as she has a full scholarship to play at Stetson University.
Taylor said she cannot remember back far enough to when she first started pitching, but an arm injury put her on the sidelines for almost two years.
“I broke my arm and then I rebroke it again,” Taylor said. “It took a long time for it to heal. It’s a lot better now. … It was Courtney and my dad (Phil) who really first helped me with my pitches and helping me get back to pitching.”
Taylor uses a fastball, curveball, changeup, screwball and dropball. Courtney has a fastball, curveball, changeup, screwball and riseball. Aaron focuses on a fastball, curveball, changeup and a knuckleball.
“I started using the knuckleball around age 11,” Aaron said. “Every once in a while I break it out just to give them something else to think about. Batters don’t usually see one of those.”
While all three play the same position, their personalities are very different.
“Courtney is pretty intense,” Aaron said. “She shows her emotions out there on the field. I’m the laid back one.”
Courtney said of their differences, “He’s definitely more laid back and he’s more confident on the mound than I am. He’s had many more pitching lessons and he’s more of a spot-on accurate and I try to throw hard and get it in there.
“I would say Taylor and Aaron are more alike,” Courtney continued. “She’s laid back, but I’ve noticed her getting a little more intense lately.”
Taylor considers herself similar to both her older siblings.
“I’d say I’m somewhere in between,” Taylor said.
During Aaron’s time at Pasco, he had a 21-9 record with a 2.60 ERA and 160 strikeouts. He has also a 4-5 record and a team-leading a 4.64 ERA and 37 strikeouts 11 games started this season, according to the Lions sports information department.
Courtney’s 0.92 ERA is the lowest of any pitcher with at least two starts this season. She has given up only 12 earned run all year with a team-leading 12-4 record and 197 strikeouts.
Statistics for the Pasco junior varsity team are not kept, but the squad’s coach Amy Herndon said she is their frontline starter.
“We go back and forth a little bit on who the best pitcher is, but I think Courtney has me beat,” Aaron said. “She’s doing very well.”
Taylor said she does not know what career she wants to go into yet. Aaron is majoring in business management, while Courtney wants to be a teacher.
“I want to teach history,” Courtney said. “World history is what I like. Ancient Roman times and that kind of stuff is really interesting to me.”
–All stats as recorded to Maxpreps.com by coaches unless otherwise stated.