Baseball is in Brandon Young's blood.
A 2003 graduate of Thomson High School, Brandon is the starting shortstop on the Gordon College baseball team during his freshman year.
Brandon Young swings at a pitch during a game for Gordon College.
"God is my first love, then baseball," Brandon said. "It's just something that's been in me that God started in me since I was a little kid."
Brandon hopes to bank on the success of other junior college players to help him achieve his goal of playing professional baseball. Six first-round picks in last year's draft came from junior colleges.
"I know I still want to go to high levels in baseball," Brandon said. "And the great thing about junior college is you can get drafted your first or second year, unlike Division I schools. ... It's a great opportunity, and Gordon College is not too far from home."
Besides playing baseball for Thomson, Brandon also played other sports. A member of the THS 2002 state championship football team, Brandon credited his success on the diamond to what he learned on the gridiron.
"Coach Welsh taught me in football to work hard, and if you work hard ... no matter what you do, you'll never be a failure in life," he said.
And Brandon takes that to heart. He spends his time working out in the weight room and practicing on the field. He is hitting over .300 so far this season, and he said he has gained about 10 lbs. of muscle since he started college.
Brandon's former baseball coach, Brad Smith, had good things to say about him, calling Brandon a vital part of last year's team. During his senior year, Brandon pitched for THS in addition to playing in the infield.
"I think he is an extremely hard worker and does a lot of work in the off-season on his own," Coach Smith said. "He can be as good as he wants to be as long as he stays focused and disciplined."
Off the field at Gordon College, Brandon dedicates much of his time to his faith. He said God is the reason he's gotten this far in baseball, and he intends to do what God has called him to do both on the field and in everyday life.
"I started a Bible study here, and we had a lot of players come," he said. "It's been a blessing because you get to do God's work and play baseball. And what greater thing is that than to get on the field, the diamond, the Earth that God created and play a game."
Brandon hasn't always been a McDuffie County product. He moved to Thomson when he was 13, all the while playing recreation league baseball. Once he moved here, he fell in love with the small town atmosphere.
"Everybody knows you and they respect what you do," he said.
That year, his recreation all star team was very successful. The team, coached by his father, won the district championship and ended up losing to the eventual state champions. Deon Palmer and Danny Warren, former THS football stars were also on that team.
Brandon just can't get away from his Thomson teammates. Demerius Mathis who played baseball for THS also plays for the Gordon College team.