This is the next in a series of player profiles featuring the Pulaski County Lady Softball seniors. Asked about the group as a whole, Coach Gina Miano said she’d welcome them to her staff as assistant coaches any time they wanted.
“Absolutely! They’re first-class young ladies. It’s absolutely been the most fun I’ve ever had working with this group in terms of coming in every day and giving me all they’ve got. And their leadership filters down the juniors and sophomores. They are a contagious group of positive energy. I look forward to coaching them every day,” Miano said.
In fact, hanging around this group, Miano said, would make for a very interesting reality show.
By Ben Hanneman
Anyone who knows Brooke Hundley even a little bit calls her “LB.”
It stands for Lindsey Brooke. But it may as well stand for “L’Energizer Bunny.”
You see, for as long as the Pulaski senior can remember she has been – wait for it — going and going and going. Even after injury.
It all started, she said, in eighth grade. She was playing third base. The batter was showing bunt, so her coach told her to play closer than normal, as everyone does.
To her utter amazement and no doubt to her coach and teammates’ horror the batter pulled back and smacked a ground ball at her that bounced off her face of all places.
“The ball hit me right in my nose,” Hundley remembered.
But instead of coming out – which everyone expected to be sure – L’Energizer Bunny, well, you can figure it out
“They popped my nose back in place and I finished the game. It was crazy,” Hundley said, grinning sheepishly.
Since then the youngest of three sisters has played every infield position but pitcher. As for the outfield, Hundley avoids it like the plague.
“I cannot judge a ball to save my life,” Hundley said.
Her favorite infield spot?
“Definitely shortstop. I like the action and the diving. I feel like I have one of the best views of the field and I’m always in the play whether ball is hit to me or not.”
And it’s that go-getter approach to the game that has made her a leader, which ironically is the very word she used when asked to describe her style of play.
“For travel ball and stuff everyone says I’m the vocal one on the team. Miano even said that when I came back the atmosphere (in the dugout) totally shifted during the games,” Hundley said.
By “came back” Hundley means from surgery. Go figure, right! Hundley had a non-cancerous mass removed from one of her lungs, which sidelined her for just a few mid-season games.
Despite what she’s been through this year, Hundley said her senior has definitely been enjoyable.
“We just realized that our senior game is this week. It sort of just hit us. But this year we’ve had new pitching come up, so it’s been a hard struggle for them. But for us six seniors it’s been the same. The back of the bus is the best!” Hundley said.
When Hundley first took the field at Pulaski four years ago she remembers being “all over the place,” needing to know her stats after every game. These days, though, with help from Coach Gina Miano, she says she’s more grounded.
“I feel like I’m more of a well-rounded player. At first I was more focused on me. Now it’s less me and more team,” Hundley said.
Of all the things she’s gone after in her four-year varsity career you won’t ever see her ever go after that first pitch.
“And I get busted for it all the time. I learned to lay off the first pitch in travel ball in North Carolina. They told me not to swing at the first pitch and it’s just stayed with me,” Hundley said.
Of the myriad of memorable moments she’ll take with her the ones off the field will stick with her most.
“We had a get-together at Sara’s house and we went four-wheeling and mudding. Then, we snuck out at like 2 a.m. and visited a local form and looked at pigs,” Hundley said.
As for any on-field memories Hundley pointed to the tougher opponents like Floyd County.
“They were some tough games. I feel like we should have played them better, but now we’re more mature and I feel like we played better against them this year,” she said.
And through those tough games Hundley said she’s learned an incredible amount from Miano, particularly about being an emotional roller coaster on the field.
“She’s always telling us to keep our head up no matter what. If we’ve given our all then we’ve given our all. And if we don’t we need to learn from it and move on and go to the next play.”
As far as her next play after high school, Hundley is heading to Lynchburg College where she hopes to suit up for the NCAA Divison III Hornets one day. In the classroom her goals are just slightly more ambitious. Remember the Energizer reference?
“I want to double major in Criminology and Sociology with a minor in Psychology. Mom still doesn’t know what that means. I keep telling her, ‘Criminal Minds, Mom, Criminal Minds.’”
“I want to work for the B.A.U. (The Behavioral Analysis Unit) of the FBI.”
Asked to give a piece of advice to her younger teammates, Hundley simply said, “Leave it all on the field.”
Interestingly enough, that’s exactly how Miano is going to remember her infield anchor.
“She is the Energizer Bunny,” Miano said. “She’s an overcomer. Nothing keeps that kid down. She is the ultimate of Never Give Up. She’s had to work the hardest to achieve her goals. She’s had to absolutely work for everything she’s got, including working two jobs since she was 15. She’s extremely scrappy and she has no fear.”
Favorite sport: Softball
Favorite beverage: Pepsi, but not Mr. Pibb or Mt. Dew. “No, that makes me burp. It’s not lady-like.”
Favorite junk food: Fruit gushers, the variety pack
Favorite team: University of Alabama
Hobbies: Reading, writing and music
Longest book I’ve ever read: Half of Gone with the Wind
If I were to make a sandwich in honor of one of my senior teammates: I’d call it “Stud” for Sara Wright. It would be a whole bunch of meat on a bun, lettuce and lots of protein and vitamins and healthy junk on it, with a side of water.