NEW CASTLE —
NOT OVER YET
With the dream run over, Brown quickly had to shed her basketball jersey and prepare for the softball season — a transition that was easier said than done.
“I didn’t touch a softball, I didn’t touch a bat, I didn’t touch a glove until literally we lost in state. A week after that, I picked a glove up. It was so weird,” she said. “I had no time to prepare. We all walked in the gym and we were just like, you’ve got to be kidding me. Half of the softball team were basketball girls. When we walked in that gym, it was just like everybody’s face was down and we were just so sad. We couldn’t believe we were playing softball. We were so used to playing basketball. None of us got to prepare. We all thought it was going to be a lot worse than it ended up being.”
The season turned out to be a success for the Lady Warriors on the diamond as Mohawk finished the season 14-4. It lost to Chartiers-Houston, 8-4, in the WPIAL Class AA quarterfinals.
“She was always ready to come and play the game. She was always there to give 110 percent either offensively or defensively,” Lady Warriors softball coach Pam Beatty said of Brown. “She just matured and the confidence she had was great. That helps out a lot.”
After batting as the team’s leadoff hitter last season, Brown made the move to third in the order and thrived. She earned an all-star bid with 27 hits, a .415 average, 23 RBIs and a home run.
“We tried to get her to use more of her power,” Beatty said. “We played some pretty good pitchers, and she made the adjustments and got the key hits.”
Improving on her defense at shortstop was a point of emphasis for Brown in her final season.
“I wanted to be able to have less errors in the field, because I knew I was going to return as a shortstop. I wanted to make sure I didn’t make many errors as a senior, because I wanted to be a role model. Our whole infield is leaving because we’re all seniors. I wanted to set the example for the underclassmen to show them you need to step up and be ready to play next year when we’re all gone.”
Of course, incentives help. A sweet treat was promised for Brown and second baseman Devon Giancola if they could show some fancy glove work and turn a double play during the season.
“We’ve been second baseman and shortstop since our sophomore year. We’ve been close that way and we always try to make those double plays because our one coach, coach Hruska, said if we turn a double play, we get ice cream anywhere we wanted.
He never paid up, though,” Brown added with a laugh. “We had two double plays in one playoff game. He never paid us. I was pretty mad.”
Brown will attend the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, in the fall and major in marketing while playing on the women’s basketball team. She prefers to attribute her successes to those who helped get her there — her family, coaches, peers and Chelsea, who pushed her in competition along the way. Chelsea Brown was a star pitcher for Mohawk and recently finished a successful collegiate career at Westminster.
“It was always that kind of thing where, secretly, I was always trying to one-up her,” Shelby said. “She’s my inspiration though. She pushed me to do what I’ve done.”
What Brown’s done is impressive enough. Still, if her transformation from a shy, easily-flustered sophomore to the top girls athlete in the county in just two seasons is any indication, the best is yet to come.