‘Vital victory’: Young softball team with ‘competitive spirit’ wins first game of season

By BRAD BAUGHMAN | For The Democrat

Last month, the Brown County High School softball team won their first game of the season against Indian Creek High School at home in Eagle Park.

On April 20, the Eagles softball team defeated the Indian Creek Braves 8-5.

Savannah Oden, the Eagles’ junior catcher, crushed a three-run walk off homer to give her team its first win of the season. For Oden, it was one of three home runs she has hit this season and one of seven dingers in her high school career. For Head Coach Elyse Babb Snider, it was a well-deserved Western Indiana Conference victory over the team’s arch rival.

Babb Snider called the win “a turning point” for the remainder of the season.

“The win against Indian Creek was a vital victory and was important for the girls to see and feel what it was like to win. At the end of the day, softball is a game and is supposed to be fun. That win against Indian Creek was really fun and a really proud moment,” she said.

Nearly three quarters of this year’s squad are underclassmen, and Babb Snider likes the competitive spirit she sees in them. “What has been most important to me, as their coach, is that they are playing really competitive softball against really tough competition,” she said.

Though they are definitely young, the Eagles do have some players who have logged some innings. One player in the line up with varsity experience is senior outfielder Kailey Buccos. Babb Snider said Buccos “has had a really important role as a team leader and defensive staple in center field.”

The Eagles are also very solid behind the plate, where Oden, the team’s clean-up hitter, has caught every game of the season so far.

Junior pitcher-first baseman Abigail Watson brings experience to the circle and the infield. Babb Snider said that Ally Hash, sophomore third baseman, “has had key hits in really close, competitive games.” Sophomore Lexie Austin handles the shortstop position, is the Eagles’ lead-off batter and leads the team in stolen bases.

“She has also been playing a leadership role in the middle infield,” Babb Snider said of Austin.

Some newcomers have also given the Eagles production this season. Two freshmen, pitcher Ava Sanders and infielder Aryn Fish-Murphy, have had a positive impact on the team.

“Ava Sanders has been a major component in our defensive and offensive game. She has been our ace pitcher, averaging six strikeouts a game, with a high of 11 strikeouts against Edinburgh,” Babb Snider said.

Julie Newton, a junior, transferred in and according to Babb Snider “has been a great addition at second base.” Sophomore Maddie Huff, in her first year of playing softball, “has been quickly improving in the outfield and doing really well in right field,” said Babb Snider

The Eagles will need meaningful contributions from both their veterans and rookies as they take on a rigorous late season schedule. Nine regular season games remain, and only two of those are scheduled for Eagle Park. Babb Snider knows that she will need every member of her team to be ready to play and contribute when called upon.

“Softball is the epitome of a team sport, and everyone has a role to play. I am very grateful that each of my players has a team first mentality and have been playing their ‘role’ to the best of their abilities,” she said.

Brown County travels to South Putnam High School Wednesday, May 4, for a WIC game, and will be on the road again Friday, May 6, when they visit Franklin Community High School. Both games are slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. They will then return home on Tuesday, May 10, for a 6 p.m. contest with Greenwood High School.