South Xtra: Brashear impressive in march toward City softball title

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Brashear softball coach Hank Hogle remembers the day well -- April 23, 2009 -- it was the last time his Bulls lost a City League game.

Most of his current players do not remember that day. That's because most were in middle school or just freshmen on that year's team.

Senior pitcher Kaylee Girdwood has been at the center of that streak, which reached 43 games after another undefeated Brashear regular season that saw the Bulls finish 15-0 overall and 12-0 in City League play.

Girdwood has never lost a start in a City League game. She has started nearly every Brashear game since her sophomore year and started a few games as a freshman.

Only one team this season, Carrick, was able to stay within 10 runs of Brashear ... barely. The Raiders lost to the Bulls, 14-5.

The Bulls have taken their run of dominance into the City League playoffs where they defeated No. 4 seed Langley, 15-0, in three innings on Monday. They were scheduled to play Allderdice Wednesday for the league title.

Girdwood is 14-0 this season and had 80 strikeouts and a 0.70 ERA through 13 games.

"There is a lot of pride on this team," Hogle said. "They are very proud to be on the team and proud of the success they have had. They obviously work very hard. Being on this team is not easy; they take pride in what they do."

As far as talking about the streak, the Bulls players bring it up from time to time, especially those who have been around for the duration of it.

"Kaylee brings it up every once in a while," Hogle said. "The girls really don't feel much pressure. When we played Allderdice, we got a little bit nervous, but we don't talk too much about the streak. We talk about going out there and executing the fundamentals and winning the game at hand."

The nervousness did not affect Brashear's play against Allderdice, the league's second-best team, which finished the regular season at 1-7 overall, but 10-2 in the City. It swept the season series from the Dragons, winning both games, 11-1.

Hogle refers to his team, Allderdice, Carrick and Langley as the "Big Four" in City League softball. The Bulls outscored the rest of the Big Four by 68 runs in six games.

"I had high expectations for these girls this year," Hogle said. "I expected us to do pretty well in the City. My starting pitcher was back while the rest of the Big Four, those other teams had to replace their pitchers. I thought I had an advantage there."

Having Girdwood certainly is an advantage.

"She has good speed and she has good location," Hogle said. "She keeps the ball low. Kaylee has a couple pitches that she can throw really well and she can go inside this year."

Girdwood does not have gaudy strikeout statistics but she also does not issue many free passes. Offensively, she is a team leader, too, batting fifth or sixth in the order. As a freshman, she was a backup pitcher and Hogle used her as a designated player.

Other offensive leaders include junior shortstop Anna Bruecken, junior third baseman Karlee Ralston and senior catcher Kelli Kimberling. Bruecken, who bats leadoff, has hit three home runs this season.

Kimberling made the move from second base to shortstop this season. Arm strength is not an issue for Bruecken at her new position. She has enough arm strength that Hogle said she may become the team's catcher next season.

Kimberling, who isthe Bulls' starting catcher, played in the shadow of two-time All-City League selection Sydney Briton the previous two years, before Briton graduated.

Hogle said Brashear has six senior co-captains -- Girdwood, Kimberling, first baseman Jena Kolb, center fielder Chelsea Minsinger, left fielder Danielle Paez and right fielder Destiney Davis.


First Published May 24, 2012 12:00 AM


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