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Branch’ing Out

August 17, 2012

Baseball Notebook: Squan grad to pitch for Susquehanna

MANASQUAN — Alex Branch realizes that one day his ability to throw a powerful fastball by someone or drop an off-speed pitch into the strike zone that buckles a batter’s knees will diminish with age.

Courtesy: The Branch Familiy

That is why, this coming spring, Branch, a 2011 graduate of Manasquan High School, will be getting back on the pitching rubber in a highly competitive setting, as he transfers from Towson University in Towson, Md. to Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. to pitch for the Crusaders baseball program.

“This is a second chance for me and I am going to make the most of it.” said Branch on Monday. “I can’t wait.”

Following an impressive career pitching for the Warriors at Manasquan, Branch chose to play club baseball at Towson over the schools recruiting him to pitch for their respective baseball programs.

“I elected to sit out a year so I could get used to college life and handle the academics,” he said.

Although he enjoyed his time playing the more laid back style of club baseball, Branch felt his ever-present desire to compete at a high level — with greater stakes on the line whenever he stepped on the mound.

“You realize how much you love the game,” he said. “I wanted to compete and play for a team that takes the field wanting to win every game.”

So Branch went back in his memory bank and recalled Susquehanna, a university he had considered attending out of high school.

“It is a great fit for me,” Branch said of Susquehanna. “The college is beautiful and they play against great competition. I got recruited by them in high school. When I was exploring my opportunities to play again they just stuck with me.”

Branch will be greeted with a familiar face in Selinsgrove this coming school year, when he reunites with former Warrior teammate, Bryan Palsi, who did a year at Temple University in Philadelphia, but, like Branch, will also transfer to Susquehanna this fall.

“We can’t wait to get back on the field together,” Branch said of playing with his old teammate.

Prior to getting back to school, though, the two will travel out to Williamsport, Pa. as part of a fundraising event for the Susquehanna baseball team, in which the players will work the festivities at the annual Little League World Series.

Branch looks forward to the experience.

“We are going to be working the concession stands as part of it,” he said. “It is going to be great to see kids from all over the world competing and giving it their all.”

Branch, who just finished up his second season with the Jersey Shore Baseball League’s Wall Angels, has set big goals for himself and the entire Crusader baseball team.

Anyone who has ever come across Branch on a baseball field knows the pitcher will be giving every ounce of his being while competing to attain those very goals.

“I want [the team] to win a national championship,” he said. “I want to get to the D[ivision] 3 World Series. It would be unbelievable.”

Follow me on twitter: @samcostantino

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