Brentwood’s Brendel makes impact on diamond, court, classroom

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Sunday, July 4, 2021 | 10:01 AM


Riley Brendel was not just an outstanding dual-sport athlete at Brentwood. The recent graduate also hit the books with passion.

Brendel earned the Senior Scholar Athlete Award at Brentwood for the 2020-21 school year, thanks mainly to his commendable GPA of 3.97.

Brendel was the male recipient. Bailey Wertz was lauded as the female winner. Brendel also reeled in the “most outstanding team member” honor in baseball.

“I’m very humbled to be able to receive the awards that I did,” Brendel said, “but it wouldn’t be possible without the support of my coaches, family and friends, so I thank them for that.

“I was upset we missed out on a year due to covid, but all in all, I have few regrets regarding my athletic career. I take pride in my improvement across both sports.”

Brendel was a two-year starter in center field on the baseball team and held down a starting forward position on the boys basketball squad in 2020-21.

He and senior C/3B Mike Guckes led the Spartans offensively this spring with .442 and .419 batting averages, respectively.

Brendel plans to continue his baseball career at Bethany College and major in computer science.

Greg Perdziola, Brentwood’s veteran baseball coach, expects Brendel to continue to progress both athletically and academically in college.

“As a sophomore, Riley showed signs that he had the potential to develop into a good baseball player. My hunch was right as he ended up having a very good senior year,” Perdziola said. “Riley played center field and was our leadoff hitter. He has above-average speed, which made him a perfect fit for those positions.

“He is very coachable. I think he has a great opportunity to be successful at the college level. Riley has size and speed and has a lot of potential to develop even further as a college player and student-athlete, just as when he was a sophomore in high school.”

Brendel let his bat and glove do the talking for him on the diamond. He led the Spartans in hits (23) and runs scored (13), while committing only one error on defense.

“Riley is a quiet, humble individual,” Perdziola said. “He doesn’t say much, but you can tell he loves playing baseball.”

Brendel’s favorite subject in high school was, of course, computer science.

“But my favorite teacher would be my math teacher, Mrs. (Katy) Phil,” he said. “She has been nothing short of amazing every year that I had her class, and she always provided me with knowledge in and out of the classroom.”

Brentwood’s baseball squad had anticipated making a strong playoff run this year but finished with a 5-7 record in Section 4-2A and 5-11 overall.

Prior to 2020, the Spartans had qualified for the WPIAL playoffs five consecutive times.

“I’m disappointed with not continuing our playoff streak,” Brendel said following the 2021 season.

Brentwood’s boys basketball team ended up 9-7 and advanced to the WPIAL Class 3A playoffs behind the one-two punch of Mr. Outside, guard Chase Rosing, and Mr. Inside, the 6-foot-4 Brendel. Rosing was named the most outstanding team member in boys basketball for 2020-21.

“Riley’s a great teammate and would do anything to help his team out,” Rosing said.

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