ARTHUR (WCIA) — As Makenzie Brown wraps up her high school career, it’s hard for her to imagine where she’d be without her dad.
“I’m going to tear up,” Brown said. “Ever since I was like eight years old, he sat on the bucket and just caught, even though I couldn’t hit him as a target.”
Since Makenzie first started playing softball, her dad Andy has coached her travel softball team, and spent countless days at the diamond catching her throws.
“We’ve spent so many hours in the car together, playing catch, having him there has just been so great,” Makenzie said.
“Our relationship wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t have softball together,” Andy Brown said. “But for me it’s not the end, she’s just going to the next level.”
The Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond pitcher signed with Tulsa in November, picking the Hurricane over a dozen other Division-1 offers.
“They said I have every opportunity to hit there,” she said. “So I’m going to try my best to earn a spot on the offensive side as well as the defensive. “
And she’ll do it after ending her high school career on a high note. Brown hit a home run in her final game of the season, leading the Knights to a fourth place finish in the program’s first trip to the state tournament. And as for the school’s pitching records…
“She’s broke every one of them, she’s got them all,” Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond head coach Jerry Lane said.
Brown has close to 700 career strikeouts. She threw 286 K’s this season, to go along with three no-hitters and a 0.28 ERA. At the plate, she hit .583 with five home runs.
“She’s been that way ever since she was a freshman, and this year you know it was her that was going to be leading us down the stretch,” added Lane.
Brown is a generational athlete for the Knights. There are less than five girls from school who have played Division I sports, and two of them are from the Brown family. Makenzie’s older sister Madison plays volleyball at Georgia Southern.
“She’s definitely helped me realize I want to be a Division I athlete,” Makenzie said about her older sister. “And I want to pursue a career in softball. “
And as she carries on the sibling legacy ahead of her first season in the American Athletic Conference, the 2021 WCIA 3 Softball Player of the Year will always remember who helped her get this far, her dad.
“He spent so long coaching me that transitioning without him is going to be so difficult.”
PAST WCIA 3 SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS:
2021: Makenzie Brown, Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond
2020: None, COVID-19
2019: Bailey Dowling, St. Joseph-Ogden
2018: Bailey Dowling, St. Joseph-Ogden
2017: Bailey Dowling, St. Joseph-Ogden
2016: Anna Watson, Tuscola
2015: Maddie Poulter, St. Joseph-Ogden