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UNK Scores a new 'Danger' to Loper Baseball Opponents
G.J. Henry
JMC 215
Courtesy Photo
Brandon Landanger was the Area Athlete of the Year at Kearney High School where he competed in football, basketball, track, and Legion Baseball. Landanger ultimately chose to play baseball at UNK, and is part of a large freshman class that will step in when 18 seniors depart after this season.

Redshirt freshman Brandon Landanger looks to bring athleticism to baseball team


 

There comes a time when every collegiate or professional team has the need to begin building for the future and infuse new blood into the program.  

This was true for the UNK baseball team coaching staff as they approached last summer’s off-season.  With 22 upperclassmen on this year’s team, and only two returning players from last year’s freshmen class, it was time to bring in a young class of freshmen to prepare for the future.

This year’s freshmen class includes 11 student-athletes, three from Kearney. Most of the freshmen class will redshirt this year and be ready to compete next year as the roster thins out with the departure of 18 seniors.  

One of those freshmen is Brandon Landanger from Kearney. Landanger was a four-sport athlete at Kearney High School competing in football, basketball, track and Legion Baseball. Landanger was a two-year letter winner in football and basketball, as well as a three-year letter winner in track. In his senior season Landanger was awarded the Area Athlete of the Year for his athletic performances. Landanger, who decided to stay close to home and attend UNK, also considered playing football and running track for the Lopers.  

“UNK offered what I wanted athletically but also could help me find what I want to do with my future,” Landanger said. What he wanted athletically has always been baseball. “Baseball has always been my favorite sport, and if the opportunity ever came, I knew I wanted to take it to play at the next level,” Landanger said.

A turning point for Landanger came last year when an injury sidelined him from sports and gave him time to think about his future.

“When I broke my foot last year, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted after sports— because after college who knows what will happen,” He said.

Like most college freshmen, Landanger is unsure about what he wants to do after college, and has yet to decide on a major. However, Landanger knew that he wanted to play baseball for the time being and pursue a childhood dream. “Since I was little I’ve always wanted to be a Major League Baseball player, and when I was younger I always wanted to be like Ken Griffey Jr.,” Landanger said.

Griffey Jr. played centerfield just as Landanger will do for the Lopers, and any of his track opponents from the last few years will tell you he has the speed and athleticism to be a great one. For now, it’s just practice for Landanger and the majority of the freshmen class, as they will have to wait for the summer and next season to play in games due to their redshirt status.  

“I am looking forward to playing with this freshmen class and turning some heads,” Landanger said.

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