Freshman outfielder Suzy Brookshire hit her first collegiate home run on Feb. 25 — two months later, she bashed her way into the softball history books after hitting her 13th home run of the season.
Brookshire, a true freshman from San Benito High School, hit two home runs during the Sacramento State softball team’s 13-11 win over Southern Utah on April 22 to tie and then set a new program record for most home runs in a single season by a Hornet player.
“It has been a little journey,” Brookshire said as she reminisced about her first-ever collegiate game on Feb. 9. “Oh my god, I was super nervous, especially when I found out (Sac State coach Lori Perez) had me batting three. I ended up going (0-for-4) that game but it was a good icebreaker for me.”
To put Brookshire’s numbers in perspective, her 13 home runs tie for sixth place all-time in Sac State program history. This total is also tied for 31st in the entire nation, while she leads the Big Sky Conference with six home runs as of press time.
Coming out of high school, the Hornets coaching staff knew that Brookshire — who leads the team with a .363 batting average and a .719 slugging percentage — could have an impact on the team even in her first collegiate season.
Perez said that she was impressed with the entire freshman class that was brought in last year, but mentioned Brookshire on the top of her list due to her ability to change the game with one swing.
“I am not surprised by any of her numbers this season,” Perez said. “What stood out the most watching her in high school was her ability to knock the ball out of the park consistently.”
Before her first collegiate season had started at Sac State, Brookshire was asked to learn a new position — outfielder.
“I am learning as I go along,” Brookshire said after mentioning that she competed mostly as a catcher and a third baseman in high school. “The weekend we played Southern Utah I had a moment where I actually felt like an outfielder for the first time. I was chasing a fly ball and I dove without knowing I dove, I didn’t make the catch but it was a good sign that it was just a natural reaction.”
Perez commended Brookshire’s commitment at practice to learning her new position, which she has made 36 starts at this season, and described it as an easy transition.
“Suzy wants to be challenged at practices,” Perez said. “She is a student of the game and comes ready to work and learn each day.”
Despite Brookshire’s youth, her fellow outfield teammate senior Shelby Johnston said that Brookshire plays with a lot more maturity than most freshmen players.
“Suzy’s knowledge (of) the game, especially at the plate, is what’s so surprising,” Johnston said. “Honestly, I don’t even see her as a freshman when it comes to hitting.”
At the plate, Brookshire said she not only wants to improve her own game but help her teammates improve as the Big Sky Tournament approaches May 11.
“As a team we need to consistently make adjustments at the plate day to day, pitch to pitch,” Brookshire said. “We can’t let the pressure of the game get to our head.”
Senior starting first baseman Jessica Ravetti praised Brookshire’s ability at the plate and said she wishes to be more like her during at-bats.
“She has this calm presence in the box that most of us, even myself admire,” Ravetti said. “She is a power hitter who is hitting first in our lineup so she definitely changes up the previous ideas of softball.”
With regular season not over yet, Brookshire has the opportunity to extend the single-season home run record, but she said that is in the back of her mind with three important conference games against Portland State starting Friday.
“I’m extremely glad I was able to break (the) previous home run record,” Brookshire said. “But softball is a collaborative team sport so I am focused on doing whatever it takes for my teammates going into our final weekend.”