If Flagstaff Eagles shortstop Brennan Brogni has any questions or concerns about playing college baseball, he's got plenty of experienced mentors surrounding him who can pitch in some help.
On Monday in the Flagstaff High mini-auditorium, Brogni, whose grandfather, father and varsity manager all played ball in college, signed with the University of Illinois, Springfield. A third-generation collegiate ballplayer, Brogni said a lot fell into place in making the decision to play for the Division II Prairie Stars.
"I love the coaches, I love the campus, I love where it's at. My father is from Illinois, so I think it will be a great place to go," said Brogni, who will play his third and final varsity season this upcoming spring before making the move to college. "I think the biggest thing for me was the opportunity to play baseball. I've always said I'd travel anywhere in the country to play, so I saw my opportunity and took it."
Brogni spent most of his sophomore season at second base before moving to shortstop as a junior. Last season with the Eagles, Brogni was a defensive wall, committing just two errors across 19 games played and ending the year with an impressive .969 fielding percentage.
For Eagles skipper Mike DoBosh, the consistency Brogni demonstrates is rare to see at the high school level.
"That never happens in high school. I mean to have a year like that is exceptionable. He makes play after play after play, and it's odd to see him make an error. Arm strength is something we've seen him improve, and you need that playing on the left side of the field. He's got great foot speed, range, glovework," said DoBosh, who played for Glendale Community College before going to Milligan College in Tennessee.
In addition to his strong fielding, Brogni brings a swing and speed to the diamond. For the Prairie Stars, who went 28-23 overall last season, the shortstop's offensive attributes made him stand out as a versatile prospect.
"Brennan will immediately be one of the fastest players in our program and in the conference," the team's website says. "The combination of his ability to play shortstop, hit left handed and really run make him a very exciting addition to the UIS Baseball Program. He comes highly recommended out of the state of Arizona and shows our ability to recruit and attract players from outside our region and around the country."
Brady, Brennan's father, said that like father like son, Brennan's passion for the game drives him to keep working at his skills.
"My father and I were out on the field playing all the time with my brother. That's what we did, some form of baseball, Wiffle ball or whatever it might be. Brennan is the same way," said Brady, who played at Yavapai and then went to University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "He's always on the field working, so he made it easy to want to pursue this sport, because he found a love for it at an early age and took it from there."
When he's not on the field or in the gym, Brogni, who plays club ball under DoBosh and also for the AZ Pro team, says he thinks he'll be studying kinesiology or business.
It'll also be a pleasure to play in the state that hosts the World Series champions.
"The Cubs are my favorite team, and they are there," said Brogni, who thanked his family, friends, teammates and coaches for helping him along the way.