As the 2020 softball season approached, Broome was on the verge of a huge breakthrough.
The Centurions had given up on the 2019 Upper State Championship heartbreakingly in Union County, but the core of that team was returning and Broome had championship dreams.
In a flash he was gone. Just a handful of games in the season, COVID-19 has erased the Centurions’ hopes. But, with a talented group of juniors and a few top executives, the Centurions are back where they want to be. Broome won the 3-AAA Region Championship with a 9-1 record, the only loss in a loss to Woodruff, and will be the No. 1 seed as the playoffs begin on Friday.
Broome coach Rebecca Cooper has said the sudden loss of last season and the inability to build on their previous success seems to motivate the Centurions.
“I was worried about how they would react, as I’m sure all coaches were, how they would react after being out for an entire season,” said Cooper. “But they responded well. They came back to the weight room and worked really hard there. I think that’s a big part of the success we’ve had here. You’re not going to work so hard for nothing. They’re not going to work so hard for nothing. have done a good job in this area and obviously they have done a job here as well. “
Cooper believes the motivation is also fueled by members of the upper class of the Centurions who take on leadership roles.
“We have a great group of seniors and a very strong group of juniors who are biding their time,” she said. “I think it’s for them.”
One of those seniors is Molly Winstead, who missed her second season with injury before last year’s cancellation. She’s back this season and playing well, lining up at a .993 rate from her wide receiver and throwing six baserunners. She also hit 0.333 in the regional game.
“It’s a big step forward,” Winstead said. “It’s just a matter of working hard to do what we need to do on the court and in the weight room.”
Broome put in some exceptional clutch strikes and throws, led by juniors Karley Green and Mattie Reid.
“I think it’s a bit of everything,” Cooper said. “We seem to have hits whenever we need them. We made plays and we were strong in defense. Our shots were phenomenal. Karley and Maddie pitched well, and Karley has a lot of strikeouts and others. the teams don’t seem to see her too. “
Green is a sparkling 14-2 record with a 1.66 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 97 innings. She was equally impressive at home, hitting .585 with a .609 base percentage, six doubles, six triples, four homers and 13 RBIs. She scored 32 points and struck once all season.
However, Green doesn’t want to talk much about his performance. She prefers to nominate her teammates whom she has seen progressing throughout the year.
“We want to come back and do things that we weren’t able to accomplish last year,” Green said. “We have had younger ones who are doing very well.”
Green is right. A number of Centurions are doing very well, both high and low. Another star is junior Bella Angeli, who hits .400 with 16 RBIs and lining up with a .926 clip on shortstop. Angeli believes the Centurions’ experience in several close games will do nothing but help her in the playoffs.
“We have been in a lot of pressure situations,” she said. “When it comes to the big games it helps a lot.”
Cooper sees this and also sees the relationship between the team as the key to a playoff run.
“I think our biggest asset is playing together and not talking about one person,” Cooper said. “It’s about the squad. If we can all see the end and see each other play in June, I think it will happen. I think if you manifest things – I firmly believe in it – I think if you believe something is going to happen, then it will happen. “