“We won’t have you pitch, Brooke, don’t worry.”
That was said to a freshman Brooke Hodgson when she signed on to play for the Colorado Mesa University softball team. And just before the season started she was told she was going to pitch all season long. Hodgson then thought to herself she better start practicing.
That quick, little anecdote Hodgson said describes two details about her personality. One, her ironic misdirection sense of humor and two her love and dedication for softball.
She did not care that she was going to have to pitch all season long. Even after pitching for four years in high school and then in club softball, where during one stretch she played seven games in two days.
Sure, her arm felt like it was going to be ripped off and, of course, she was playing through the pain of a torn labrum in her shoulder, but she did not care about those details because the only detail she cares about was that the team won all seven games.
And when she was asked to be the number one pitcher her freshman year, she was only happy that she had a role with the team.
“I loved it because I got thrown into a role,” Hodgson said. “I didn’t care where I played my freshman year I was just loving that I was a role player and I got to have a really good impact on the team.”
What makes Hodgson’s CMU career more incredible is that she is still playing through the pain of the torn labrum for the past four years. She does not want to have surgery because she would have to miss a year of playing softball and she can’t do that.
Hodgson’s love of softball can be traced back to her older brother, Alex. While growing up in Rio Rancho, N.M., she and her brother, who is six years older, would play baseball together.
The siblings have a friendly rivalry with each, Hodgson still lightheartedly teases him that she plays college softball while he only played high school baseball. Her mother would also flame the rivalry by jokingly tell Alex about how good Hodgson was at softball.
“My mom would always light a fire under his butt yelling ‘your sister could come out here and play better than you so you better pick it up,’” Hodgson said.
The reason why Hodgson could play better was because from middle school to high school she played softball almost year round. During the summer and fall, Hodgson would play 12U club softball and as she got older, 18U.
Then she would play high school softball from February to May. However Hodgson remembered high school softball to be a grind. The main reason was because of the lack of consistency with her coaches.
In fact, in her high school career she had three coaches in her four years. Her best season happened her freshman year, where her team placed fifth in the state tournament.
Another quality of New Mexico softball she did not like during high school was the games would be high scoring because the pitching was ineffective or low scoring because the teams could not hit the ball.
Hodgson realized while traveling to other states with her club team that softball was different in other states.
“New Mexico ball is not as popular as it is in other places like California and Arizona,” Hodgson said. “I had to learn that by traveling out there during the summer and when I came home I said, ‘Wow, we don’t have a great amount of ballplayers or we don’t play as many games because there are not many team.’”
Playing in New Mexico almost hurt her chances of playing in college. Going into her senior year, Hodgson had not signed with a college team even though some colleges scouted her which included Michigan State.
But one day she received a phone call from a former teammate about an university she might like, but Hodgson never heard of a college called CMU.
She visited the university and almost instantly fell in love with the campus. For Hodgson, CMU is where she was meant to be.
And now Hodgson is meant for the CMU softball team. After pitching her freshman year, she moved to outfielder and she still would occasionally pitch in a reliever role. Her role of an outfielder was rewarded when she was named RMAC defensive player of the year.
That same year, Hodgson believed she arrived as a hitter when she smacked a walk off three run home run against Colorado School of Mines. And just imagine, she hit that home run with injured shoulder.
So far in her junior year she has continued to be one of the best hitters in the RMAC.
Hodgson leads the RMAC in four different categories: slugging percentage, .951, runs scored, 51, RBIs, 56, and home runs, 14. Garcia believes Hodgson’s ability to relax with runners in scoring position has helped her lead in the four categories.
“I love it when there are runners in scoring position when Brooke comes up because I think she relaxes a little bit more,” head coach Ben Garcia said.
After Hodgson graduates from CMU, she hopes to become a softball coach at the collegiate level. Her coaching ability can already be seen by her current head coach.
“Brooke is like another coach,” Garcia said. “She does a lot of good things on the field to where I don’t have to talk a lot about situations where players need to be because she is always in the ballgame.”
Hodgson’s teammates also appreciate her coaching skills.
“She is very helpful,” teammate Kellie Mrofcza said. “She allows helps you out and is very influence. She always does things for the team and she tries to help you get on base.”
For Hodgson, she helps her teammates even if she is playing through injury. Softball is her love and she will be apart of the sport anyway she can. Even if that means playing through the pain.
CMU suffered their first lost in over a month as they lost to the Regis Rangers, 2-1, in game one of Friday’s doubleheader.
After a scoreless five innings, CMU received their only run of the game, when Maggie Manwarren reached first on a fielder’s choice, which scored Sarah Phillis.
However, the Rangers responded in the seventh inning with two key two out hits. Starting pitcher Surface walked a Regis batter, the next batter smacked a RBI double to left field.
After another walk, the Rangers won in walk off fashion with a RBI single. Surface received her fourth lost of the season. She allowed six hits, four walks and two runs.
In game two, the Mavs responded to their first loss since February with a three run first inning. AnnMarie Torres started the scoring with a RBI double followed by a sacrifice fly by Kellie Mrofcza and a RBI single Abby Toller.
The Mavs scored two more runs in second inning, when Alexandria Dufour hit a RBI single and Torres hit a sacrifice fly to make the score, 5-0. CMU then scored two more runs in the third inning from two different throwing errors by the Rangers.
Dufour, who went 3-for-4, capped off the day with a two run single in the fifth inning and CMU won 9-0. Starting pitcher Kimbri Herring won her 10th game of the season. She allowed three hits, three walks and zero earned runs.
Manwarren had one hit, walked twice and scored three runs in game two.
Not many softball games end with the only run coming from a strikeout. But CMU won 1-0 against Regis because of a called strike three in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
In the top of the third inning and with two outs Dufour stuck out looking with Manwarren on first and Baylee Boren on second.
However, the Rangers’ Kate Lorenz missed played the ball which allowed Dufour to be safe at first. Boren took the opportunity to score all the way from second while barely escaping Lorenz’s tag. Regis believed Lorenz’s tag was on time and protested the play, but after a review the call was upheld.
The Rangers threatened in the bottom of the third as they had runners on first and second. But Surface struck out the next Regis batter to end the inning.
Later in the bottom of the seventh, Surface struck out the side and CMU won the game. Surface earned her 19th win of the season. She allowed five hits, two walks and struck out nine.
Boren went 2-for-4 to go along with the winning run.
In game two, CMU scored first as Boren was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which scored Mrofcza. Manwarren added an RBI single and CMU took a 2-0 lead. In the third inning, Kaila Jacobi hit a RBI single to increase the Mavs lead to three.
But Regis cut in the bottom of the third inning, when Carlie Sexton hit a two run single. The Mavs distanced themselves when Zoe Pakes smacked a solo home run in the fifth inning and Torres hit a RBI single in the seventh inning.
Herring then pitched a perfect seventh inning as CMU, 5-2. Herring earned her 11th win of the season. She pitched seven innings, allowing three hits, no runs and two walks.
Mavs pitcher Andy Hancock replaced Herring in the thirding inning, where she allowed the two runs. Herring then went back to pitch and got out of the inning.
CMU is now 33-5 on the season. The Mavs next play against Colorado Christian University on Saturday, April 22.