Leading the Bison
Few command the presence or the talent like Buffalo’s Brooke Persinger, and this year she’s again guiding the Bison softball team with leadership and statistics.
Persinger, a junior, represents one of the team’s top players after starting, as a freshman, on Buffalo’s 2015 Class A state championship squad. In the years since, Persinger has continued to excel with leadership and offensive skills.
“She’s really one of the main leaders, probably the one that’s played more ball than anyone else,” Bison coach Jim Mays said. “She’s more like having an extra coach around. It’s actually hard to find a kid that all the kids like and respect and listen to. She’s one of those kids.”
To earn her teammates’ respect, Persinger works hard to encourage the players.
“I try to be a positive influence for each and every girl on our team,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that we could turn negative, but I always try to make it a positive. Softball should be fun. I just try to be that leader for each of the girls and let them know it’s OK when you mess up, but strive to do better next time.”
In improving and having fun, the team also works together toward a shared goal, Persinger said.
“It’s not about one person on our team,” she said. “Everyone has a role on the softball team and you just have to find out what your role is. Some of our girls have learned that. Like, we have girls who just run bases, and they know that. We have girls who can only hit. It’s just finding your part and working together to reach the goal of going to the state championship.”
Persinger now finds her part as the team’s starting third baseman, and though that’s where she’s played much of the past three seasons, she’s now removed from a former role as pitcher.
“I had rotator cuff surgery a year ago,” Persinger said. “I’m not able to throw as hard due to that, so I just primarily play third base now.”
At the infield’s ‘hot corner,’ though, Persinger finds reward in her position.
“I love the challenge of playing third base,” she said. “Everything, at third, really comes off the bat hot, and I love the challenge of just getting through it making the plays. It’s really thrilling.”
Offensively, Persinger provides ‘pop’ in the Buffalo batting order.
“She hits third in the batting order,” Mays said. ‘She’s got some power. She’s one of the bigger hitters for us. That’s why we try to line a couple of the little girls ahead of her to get on base and let her be one of the ones with RBIs.”
In a 22-15 win at Ravenswood on April 13, Persinger hit for the cycle, with an additional home run.
“That really helped me build confidence in my hitting,” Persinger said. “That’s something I’ve always worked on, and I want to be one of the power hitters and be able to knock people in. I’ve really focused on my hitting this year.”