For the love of the game

Sylacauga senior Ansley Brown (front, third from left) signed an academic scholarship and committed to play softball for LaGrange College (Georgia) during a ceremony Wednesday.

SYLACAUGA -- Ansley Brown signed an academic scholarship and committed to play softball at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia, on Wednesday morning in the Sylacauga High School media center.

Brown’s love for the game played a major role in flipping her commitment. Brown said it was exciting to accomplish her goal of playing at the next level.

“I was originally going to go to Lee University in Tennessee. That was really (my decision to) go there, softball or not, because I really liked the campus,” Brown said. “I started the season in February and I realized that this couldn’t be my last season. I wanted to play softball, and Lee didn’t have a spot on the team for me because they have a young team.

“I got in contact with LaGrange in April. I went on a visit up there and I loved it as much as I did Lee University. I am excited.”

Brown’s preparation and countless hours of training over the years put her in position to play at the collegiate level.

“It took a lot of hard work,” Brown said. “I would be at softball practice for 2 1/2 hours, then go to Oxford for another hour to pitch. … I would sometimes go to the gym afterwards and work out for two more hours. … There were some nights where I dreaded it, but I pushed through it.”

Sylacauga head coach Jay Brooks was elated Brown will have a chance to play at the next level. Brooks has coached Brown for the past five seasons and said the Lady Panthers can expect her to put in the time and effort to be the best.

“LaGrange is getting an amazing young woman,” Brooks said. “They are getting a devout Christian. I have never coached a girl that has been more dedicated and focused on her faith. (She is) non-compromising, she knows what she believes and she lives it.

“She also believes that she is a good pitcher and she tries to live that. She works just as hard as that as she does anything else. Not to mention that she is an amazing student. I haven’t found a lot that she can’t do.

“When she wants to do it and the mindset is there, she throws perfect games. We have talked about a perfect game before, and this young lady has done that. You don’t do that without being exceptional.”  

Brown pitched a perfect game against Cleburne County on Feb. 23 in the Central Alabama Softball Classic in Alexandria City.

Brown intends to make an immediate impact in the circle for LaGrange. The Lady Aggies ace plans to work on all aspects of her game to help her improve before heading to college.

“I know they said that they are in need of a pitching staff, so I am hoping that I can give them what they need,” Brown said. “I am going to work hard this summer; hopefully, I will get stronger and faster.”

Brown said she was grateful for everyone that played a role in her helping earn this accomplishment.

“I would like to thank God first, then I would like to thank my family for the money, the sacrifices and the support that they have given me,” she said. “I couldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for their support.”