'Cutters' Leibrandt hurls six two-hit frames

Phillies' seventh-round pick coasts in second NY-Penn League start

Brandon Leibrandt is 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA in seven appearances across two levels this season. (Williamsport Crosscutters)

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com | July 23, 2014 11:22 PM ET

It's not every start that a pitcher in his first pro season has the chance to throw in front of his parents, nor the opportunity to impress a 14-year Major League veteran.

Brandon Leibrandt got to do both on Wednesday. Of course, he's the son of Charlie Leibrandt.

"They've been great this whole time," the younger Leibrandt said. "They made the 13-hour drive up here, so it's nice to come out and have a good start."

The 20-year-old left-hander allowed two hits and a walk while striking out five over six innings and setting the tone in Short-Season Williamsport's 3-0 blanking of Batavia. The Phillies' seventh-round pick in last month's Draft threw 63 of 93 pitches for strikes.

"It felt good. I was able to get the 'W,' and that always feels good," Leibrandt said. "I was kind of getting ahead. Once you do that, everything is easier on you. And I was able to get the right pitches here and there."

Four of the Florida State University product's six innings were perfect, beginning with the first. He encountered turbulence in the second, when Victor Castro led off with an infield single. Leibrandt erased the hit by picking Castro off first base.

"That's always nice. Being a lefty, that's one of the weapons you can use. It just kills momentum," he said. "I just guessed right. I don't think [Castro] was stealing, but I was hoping to catch him leaning too far."

After fanning K.J. Woods, Leibrandt walked Wildert Pujols.

"My mechanics were a little out of whack [against Pujols]," he said. "I might have been rushing a bit and I left balls up, but after that, I was able to get back in the zone."

In fact, he retired 11 in a row. He was aware he was cruising but focused on the micro.

"You try not to pay too much attention to it," he said. "You take it one batter at a time, one pitch at time and try to execute on each delivery."

The Muckdogs' Iramis Olivencia ended the string with a one-hop double off the wall in left-center field with one out in the sixth. Leibrandt shrugged it off and recorded two more outs without incident.

"I threw a fastball inside and he got the bat head on it. It happens," he said. "I took the same approach I had the previous innings to minimize the damage and get out of there without the run scoring."

His outing was over, but Leibrandt looked forward to reviewing it with his father. Before making his New York-Penn League debut on July 17, he made five appearances, including three starts, in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. And he benefited from his dad's wisdom after each of them."

"After every start," he said, "there's a phone call either that night or the next day to go over the little things that you did well or the things that you didn't do so well."

After Leibrandt exited, Richard Bielski, Scott Harris and Bryan Sova each worked a scoreless inning. Sova earned his second save and finished off Williamsport's third shutout of the season.

Derek Campbell tripled, doubled and scored twice for the Crosscutters.

Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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