For The Tribune
Brownstown Central’s Jami Bryant says while she may not be the best softball player on the field, she feels she is as well prepared as any of her teammates or opponents.
“I am not a state-of-the-art athlete,” Bryant said. “I’m not as tall as some athlete and I’m not as strong or as fast as some players, but I play the sport well because I practice and because I mentally know what I’m going to do at each play and that’s something that really appeases to me.
“I am an athlete in softball because I know what to do.”
Bryant grew up around softball as she began playing at 6-years-old, and began taking it seriously when she turned 9.
“I’ve been on the same travel team since I was 9,” Bryant said. “We have four Brownstown players and girls form other schools on our team.”
Jami’s father, Darren, is an assistant softball coach with the Braves.
She said having his as a coach “is a win and lose situation.”
“We talk softball at home all the time. He definitely knows what I do wrong. He sees me the most. He can definitely help me fix my mistakes and stuff. It’s a little nerve wracking because I want to make him proud when I’m pitching. It’s difficult, but it’s worth it.”
The senior is in her second season as the Braves’ regular pitcher.
“I enjoy the control of pitching,” Bryant said. “I like knowing that every outcome that happens is a result of the pitch that I produce, so in a way I have a hand in every play that happens.
“I throw a curve, a change, a screwball and a rise. My curve is my favorite pitch. My curve ball would break away from (right-handed) batter and in toward a left-handed batter.”
Bryant, who said she takes pitching lessons during the season, relies on the movement of her pitches to get batters out.
“I wouldn’t say I’m the fastest pitcher,” Bryant said. “I kind of rely on good movement and good control, and try to keep the batters off-balance. It’s very important to get ahead in the count.”
She has been hitting in the No. 3 position.
“I think everybody would say they like (pitches) down the middle, waist high, but if I had to pick a location I would say inside waist-to-knee high,’ Bryant said.
Bryant said where she hits the ball depends on the runners.
“It really depends on who’s on base,” Bryant said. “If there is somebody on second or third I’m looking for an outside pitch to hit behind the runners. If nobody’s on I’m looking for an inside pitch because that’s what I hit the best.”
Bryant said she relies on her fielders to make plays behind her on defense.
“It’s a big team sport so I have seven girls behind me who all do their part to service the team,” she said.
On the diamond, Bryant said the players have to be talking all the time.
“Communication is really important in this sport where we’re so spread out because the players are not very close like they are in basketball or volleyball,” Bryant said.
“We have to tell each other where to throw the ball and if somebody makes an error we have to say, ‘hey, don’t get down, and keep up. I think the times we have played the best are the times we have talked to each other and stayed positive and been able to effectively communicate.”
Several improvements were made to the home field prior to this season, and Bryant said she enjoys the home games.
“I love our field,” she said. “Our field has the best mound around. It’s perfectly built. We actually have a locker-room so we’re able to get ready at the field.
She said the mental part of sports is a key to success.
“Everybody has to be in the right state of mind,” Bryant said. “For a pitcher, you kind of want to have a state of mind where you want to believe you can strike every batter out no matter if she’s an Olympic quality batter or a T-Ball batter.”
She said her highlight in softball was pitching a perfect game in travel ball, and her highlight with the Braves was striking out 15 against Mitchell last season.
Bryant said she has enjoyed filling the role of captain.
“Captains set examples,” she said. “We take the lead in drills, make sure the freshmen don’t get discouraged and make sure they have smiles and are learning the game.”
Bryant said she has enjoyed being a student at Brownstown Central.
“It’s been a great four years,” she said. “ I love having really small classes. It really does make a difference when you’re in a class of 20. The teachers know you by name. The teachers say if you need something ask them.”
Name: Jami Bryant
School: Brownstown Central
Parents: Debi and Darren Bryant
Sports: softball 4 years
Athletic highlights: pitching award 2015, 2016, all-Jackson County, All-Mid-Southern-Conference honorable mention.
Organizations: National Honor Society, student council, Spanish Club, Teen tutors, senior class officer.
Plans after high school: attend Bellarmine University, study biology.
Favorite food: tacos
Favorite TV show: Friends
Favorite musician: Bruno Mars
Favorite movie: Limitless
Favorite team: Jennie Finch