The sound of the bat contacting the ball, the voices of the girls calling off fly balls — these are the sounds of a practice for the Montclair State University softball team, which echo in the thoughts of the Red Hawks’ captain, pitcher and outfielder, Brooke Powers.
A senior business major, Powers has played the game since she was about 6 years old. She said her dad was always into baseball, and her sisters were also playing softball, even at times when it wasn’t competitive play.
She said it was right around the age of 12 when she really found her passion for the game while playing for her travel team, which involved traveling to different states and playing competitively.
Powers, a competitive and determined player, said playing for Montclair State makes her feel at home and that the school is a big part of her life.
“My best memory was here, my sophomore year, when we went to the Nationals — that was the best experience,” Powers said. “I’ve never been to Texas, where they’re held. [We were] a really good team.”
Whether it is during practice or on game days, Powers’ teammates admire her drive and passion for the game. “She’s an excellent player,” sophomore infielder Noel Hodgins said. “She’s the true definition of a captain. She puts others before herself, and she wants the best for the team.”
“She’s always motivated and tries her hardest in everything she does, and she goes over the top. She never slacks,” Alana Luna, sophomore and infielder said.
Powers threw a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against Centenary College on Thursday, March 24. She was also named Athlete of the Week for the week of March 21.
Head Coach Anita Kubicka also feels the athlete’s importance to the team. “Brooke is a strong, talented athlete,” she said. “Her passion and commitment to the sport of fast pitch softball is unparalleled. Brooke is a natural on the field. She developed this skill as her knowledge of the game and her confidence grew. It has been a privilege for me to provide guidance for Brooke during her collegiate softball journey.”
The game of softball doesn’t end just because Powers’ career as an undergraduate is coming to a close. She plays on a travel team — the New Jersey Thunderbolts.
When asked about how much it means to put on her Montclair State jersey and gear, she said she feels grateful to play the sport she loves. “Montclair State is a huge part of my life, so every time I get to wear the softball shirt, I’m proud,” said Powers. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Powers took time to elaborate on how she can play multiple positions, noting that in college, being successful in different areas comes down to athleticism. She said Kubicka helped her develop into an outfielder, and that if you can play in the outfield, you have to hit.
She credits her parents and her younger sister Sam as her biggest supporters through her athletic career, saying they’ve never missed a game, and they’ve always been extremely supportive in everything she does.
As her senior year draws to a close, Powers said she will miss her teammates and the rhythm of the game as a whole. In addition, she offered words of advice for any high school softball players who contemplate taking their game with them to college.
“Just work hard, always run on and off the field,” said Powers. “Know that you always need to motivate yourself because there are a few coaches that will not be there to motivate you. With any chance you get to play the sport you love, you should try it, even if it is for one to two years. You only have four years — you’ve got to enjoy it. It’s a lot of dedication, but making the best out of it and having the most experiences is what you have to do.”
Among Powers’ previous accomplishments as a Red Hawk are being named to the NFCA East All-Region Third Team and the Second-Team All-NJAC Team in both 2014 and 2015. In addition, at 2014’s NCAA DIII Softball Championship, she went two-for-four with three RBIs against Trine University.
Now in her senior year, Powers’ goal for the season is to play better in her last year of collegiate ball and hopes to make the All-Conference Team. She is currently working on achieving that goal with a 8-5 record on the mound, three shutouts, a no-hitter and 24 strikeouts. At the plate, she has a batting average of .438, nine doubles, six home runs and 43 RBIs.