For The Tribune
The Brownstown girls softball team was awarded for a successful season Wednesday evening at the high school.
The Braves finished the season with a record of 22-9, and they narrowly lost to Salem in the sectional championship.
This season, the Braves are losing seven seniors to graduation, and five of those seniors earned special awards.
The most valuable athlete was presented to senior Kourtney Branaman.
“The team votes on the MVP,” coach Monte Ault said, before presenting the award to Branaman. “She had a good year as a player and a pitcher. She was a leader on and off the field. She worked hard all four years.”
Besides pitching, Branaman contributed a solid .371 batting average.
The defensive player award went to senior Maeleigh Tidd. She only committed three errors and had a .983 fielding percentage. She also led the team in put outs with 156.
Ault always expected Tidd to perform at a very high level, due to her talents. She’ll continue playing at Manchester next year in college.
The leading hitter award went to Brook Ebbing, who batted .430.
“Last year, our highest batting average was .365,” Ault said. “This year we had four girls bat higher. Ebbing picked up a bat and just started hitting.”
Ebbing also had a .474 on-base percentage.
The leading pitcher award went to Branaman, who finished the season with 17-5. She threw 1,381 strikes, struck out 138 batters and had an ERA of 1.641. The senior pitched in 145 of the 207 innings the Braves played this season.
The mental attitude award went to senior Haley Martin.
Ault said she helped to motivate other girls, and would encourage them even when playing junior varsity ball.
Seniors Bethanie Weston, Courtnie Pullen and Bailey Bonebright also graduated from the Braves program. Pullen was also given her varsity jacket during the event.
“(The seniors) put a lot of time into building our softball program,” Ault said. “That’s one reason why the program is where it is today. They’ve made the program stronger. They had a good attitude and worked hard, lifted weights and played in the offseason. We had a personal trainer come in and help this year.
“When you have a team that’s good enough to win the sectional and they don’t, that hurts a little bit. It’s hard to see them go.”
The reserve team finished with a record of 6-3, and it’s believed that at least four of the girls will join the Braves varsity next season.
Also, three juniors this year contributed 13 of 20 home runs for the season.
Kaitlyn Gray had five and Beth Wayman and Morgan Wehmiller each notched four homers, so the Braves have some hitting power returning next year.