Team is half senior, half first-year player
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
The Brentwood High School softball team has lost a lot more games than the two it has won so far this season. A bunch of the losses have been blowouts. You might think the dugout is quiet, the mood tense, the coach exasperated.
But if you think that about the Eagles, you haven’t been to any of their games, you don’t know their head coach. Whether her team is up by 8 or down by 8, Kelly Javier keeps up pretty much the same constructive banter. It’s not all praise, but she never seems to spout the anger and sarcasm that many coaches would resort to who are two-and-something late in the season.
“So this is what I want you to do,” she told them after a 17-0 loss to Clayton. “Do the thing that you’ve been doing really great. Just pick up the good stuff and decide what you’re going to work on. Leave the rest of the past in the past — there’s too much of that to carry.”
That’s probably good advice for a team that has so many players, almost half of them, who are out for the first time.
“We have a team of kids who haven’t played before, except the seniors,” Javier said. “But they come out and try.”
When you lose a lot the occasional highlight seems that much better. In a recent loss to Lutheran North, the Cougars cracked a fly ball over the leftfielder’s head. Third baseman Rivera raced out to be the cut-off person and ran almost all the way to the fence before the leftfielder picked it up and flipped it to her.
In just about any other girls softball game in St. Louis, the lead runner would have crossed home plate standing up. But of course Rivera is Brentwood’s three-time state champion in the shot put and discus. She threw a rope to catcher Jill Yancey, who caught it on one bounce, turned and tagged the surprised runner for the out.
“I mean, it would have been a home run any place else,” said Javier. “It was the last out of the inning and the kids were so excited.”
‘Willing to get her brave on’
Tall, strong and the most successful female athlete in BHS history, Rivera could probably star on the league champion volleyball team. But for the past three years she has played softball instead, on teams that have won only a few games each season.
“The best thing is that she puts herself in a position where she knows she’s not going to win,” said Javier. “Who does that? Who walks into that? She could go play another sport – the volleyball team wins all the time. Could you imagine her spiking a ball? But for everybody to see her in a place where she’s pretty vulnerable is really great. Every once in a while you might strike out? What are you going to do when that happens? You pick yourself back up and get ready to go the next time. You have so much joy as a coach when you have a kid who is willing to get her brave on and do that.”
Players by position
Rivera began playing at first base this season but has been on a campaign to play every position.
“We play rock paper scissors to decide what position Sophia is going to play,” said Javier. “If she wins she gets to pick.”
Rivera is one of six seniors on Brentwood’s 13-player roster. The other five are Victoria Aunger (second baseman, outfielder), Abby Lawrence (pitcher), Molly Mills (first baseman, shortstop), Sarah Thomas (left fielder) and Jill Yancey (catcher).
The team’s only junior is infielder Kelsey Krimmel.
The three sophomores are second baseman Angeles Calzada and outfielders Rosie Robinson and Haley Winning.
The three freshmen are third baseman Logan Darrow and outfielders Emily Record and Caitlin Souers.
“Logan is a real first baseman but she’s also a real ballplayer so we moved her to third,” said Javier. “She’s also left-handed and she’s like, ‘Are you crazy?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I kind of am because we need you over there.’”
2015 BHS Softball team
Seniors: Victoria Aunger, Abby Lawrence, Molly Mills, Sophia Rivera, Sarah Thomas, Jill Yancey.
Junior: Kelsey Krimmel.
Sophomores: Angeles Calzada, Rosie Robinson, Haley Winning
Freshmen: Kaitlin Souers, Logan Darrow, Emily Record