The district champion Okeechobee High School Lady Brahman softball team wrapped up their 2019 season with their annual banquet on May 29.
The banquet caps off what had been an impressive season for the Lady Brahman softball program. After opening with seven straight losses, it appeared the team was having an off year compared with their success in previous seasons. And that seemed reasonable considering the team leaders the Lady Brahmans lost after the 2018 season along with the overall youth of the roster. There was a feeling that Okeechobee could use 2019 to gain experience and rebuild their roster in order to make another deep playoff run next year.
But, as we all now know, that’s not what happened.
The Lady Brahmans gained experience quickly throughout the season. Following that seven-game losing streak, Okeechobee stacked three back-to-back wins, with two coming against district rivals South Fork and Jensen Beach. Along the way to the playoffs the Lady Brahmans put up impressive numbers and two of their players were awarded Big Lake Athlete of the Week for their efforts.
Not only did the Lady Brahmans win blowout games down the stretch, but towards the end of the season they found a way to win the close, nail-biting ones too.
In the playoffs Okeechobee pulled off two dramatic extra-inning wins against Olympic Heights and Dwyer that made them one of the final eight teams left standing in the region and put them one game away from the state tournament.
Not bad for a team just looking to gain experience and rebuild its roster.
Seven awards were handed out by Lady Brahman coach Mary Huff at the banquet which was held in the OHS cafeteria.
Rookie of the Year was awarded to Elle Thomas; Will to Win was awarded to Faith Vest; the Homerun medal was awarded to Janel Aponte; Offensive Player of the Year was awarded to Haley Underhill; Defensive Player of the Year was awarded to Destiny Elliott; Most Valuable Player was awarded to Haley Underhill; and, the Brahman Award was given to Lillian Henry.
The team loses a small senior class this year with Brooke Santiago and Alexandrea Fulford graduating. But the majority of the Lady Brahman roster should be back next year, along with any new players from the middle schools. And with both Okeechobee middle schools now fielding softball teams, that should hopefully give newer players at the high school level a head start with experience playing the game.
“Teams don’t just make it to the regional final everyday,” said coach Huff after the banquet. “Especially being a team that started the season 0-7, no one had hope in them making it one game away from state. It’s a huge deal and I commend the team on an amazing season and can’t wait for next year.”