A stunning silence settles over the softball field while all attention centers on the pitcher's mound. The only thing to break this silence — the familiar whack of junior Eve Brown's fastball hitting the catcher's mitt as she completes her 48th strikeout of the season so far.At the age of 11, Brown discovered her love of the sport that has come to dominate many aspects of her life. In addition to the Blair team's spring season, Brown practices and plays games year-round with her travel team and takes part in weekly private pitching clinics. This means spending anywhere from eight hours a week to four hours a day on the field, an amount of time that requires an enormous passion and dedication.
She says that although the level of play in her travel league is higher because every athlete plays year-round, the season length of school softball makes each individual game more competitive. "During summer league we are sometimes playing five games a week. But the Blair season is so short that losing one game is a much bigger deal," she says.
Brown believes her choice of softball as a sport is due to the variety of skills required for success. "It's not just about strength or being fast, it's also a mental game and it's a lot of fun," she says.
As a three-year Blair softball starter, Brown has been an asset to the team both offensively and defensively. This year she has a 6 - 0 record pitching, and a batting average of .529. Though seemingly quiet and reserved in nature, she is far from a pleasant opponent on the field. "I don't seem like a competitive person, but when I'm playing I am," she says.
In addition to Brown's natural athleticism, Blair Coach Louis Hoelman says that the athlete is a leader on the field. "As pitcher, she sets the tone for how we play," he says. "Her leadership style is to lead by example because of how hard she works; she makes everyone else play better."
In the future, Brown is looking to play softball in college so she can continue to enjoy the friendships and values she gains from the sport. But until then, MCPS softball teams better watch out. Because the minute a batter's confidence begins to build, Brown will send them straight back to the bench without so much as a chance at getting on base.
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