JASPER, Fla. (WTXL) — The Hamilton County softball team finished last year 0-16. The previous year? They were 0-3 in a COVID shortened season. Enter a new coach, and the culture is changing. That's thanks in part to senior Brooke Howell wanting to leave this program better than she found it.
"I've been playing since I was three," she said of the sport that's meant so much to her. "I've always played, it's my enjoyment in life, and it's crazy to believe this is it."
Howell's been a steady presence for Hamilton County since the 8th grade, and with a new coach this season, came a new winning mindset, and she's been leading the way.
"When we first came in, we needed that leader and Brooke stepped up with being that leader on the field," said head coach Morris Bell. "I don't have to say much to her because she's going to do her job."
"I always try to be encouraging and always try to have a good attitude about everything," added Howell. "We have lost, but we have to learn off those losses and come back better the next time."
A leader to look towards. Balancing school, work, and softball, Howell has a 3.8 GPA.
"We just have to juggle and find the balance," she said of how she gets it all done. "I get out of school third period, go to work, come back here for practice everyday, and we just work with what we have."
"I always told them to leave the school better than they found it, so the little kids can look up to them," said Bell. "That's what this team has done and Brooke has been leading on and off the field."
As Howell focuses on her final season, she knows what she wants to be remembered for.
"I just want to them to remember me as a good teammate and encouraging and always uplifting them, even when they're down."
Howell said her goal is to play softball in college, either as a pitcher or middle infield. She wants to study to become a dental hygienist.