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South's senior shortstop ready to show the way
Alex Brown
South Effingham shortstop Alex Brown, who has verbally committed to attend the University of North Carolina, led her team with a .488 batting average last year. She also scored 29 runs and stole 29 bases. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

GUYTON — Since her freshman season, Alex Brown has been a key player for the South Effingham softball team.

In 2017, she earned playing time by competing as a second baseman for a short time but eventually moved to shortstop. Her offensive statistics were solid, batting .354 with 14 RBIs and 16 runs scored.

As a junior she had the highest batting average on the team at .488. She finished with 29 runs, four doubles, seven triples and 29 stolen bases.

As she enters her senior season, she’s reminded of the evolution of her game. 

“The thing that’s grown the most is the mental part of the game,” Brown said. “I would get frustrated. I was 14 and I hadn’t learned yet how to deal with failure or anything. I feel like now, a couple years later, after I’ve played and got experience, I can deal with stuff that has come my way.”

Brown’s sophomore campaign was one to remember as the Mustangs booked a trip to Columbus to compete for a Class AAAAA title. 

“We focused a lot on being a team and coming together, and we really, really worked hard that year and that felt like we earned it and we worked hard to go to state,” Brown said.

The 2019 Mustangs weren’t as successful but Brown developed in certain facets of her game.

“Last year was also interesting,” she said. “I think it was good for me because in a way I feel like I grew even more because I wasn’t just part of a great team. I was part of a team that needed to be pushed more. We needed to grow. 

“That in a way was better for me to have to go through. We weren’t bad by any means. I think we did pretty well last year. I just think it was also good for me to not just be part of a playoff winning team, but a team that needed to learn.”

The University of North Carolina commit relied on the veterans to help her get through her freshman season. Now Brown wants to pay it forward.

“(I look forward to) being able to lead the team and help guide people because when I was a freshman, I had people looking out for me when I needed it,” she said. “Hopefully, I can be that person for them, be able to look out for them, help them learn and teach them all kinds of things that I had when I was a freshman.”

Brown has a difficult time grasping that she is about to embark on her final prep campaign.

“It’s feels crazy,” she said. “I feel so old right now. It feels surreal. I feel like I was just a freshman going into high school. I’m really excited to start my senior year of school and my senior year of softball.

Whether on the field or in the dugout, Brown wants to lead by example.

“I’m going to work hard and hopefully do all the right things and try to get people to work hard with me,” she said. “Even this past year, I feel like I did a good job with it.”

Brown is hopeful that the Mustangs can mount another state championship charge.

“It would feel so good,” she said. “We have to go back. It was hands-down the best experience I’ve had in softball in high school.”