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Brenna Moss Hoping For Big 2019 After MVP 2018

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(Photo Courtesy of the Chicago Bandits)

For 2018 National Pro Fastpitch Player of the Year Brenna Moss, the upcoming NPF season provides a golden opportunity for her to finally achieve her childhood dream.

The 2020 Olympics loom, and another MVP-type season from Moss could entice an invite to Team USA tryouts for the 2020 team. Moss knows this, and she is accepting the challenge head on.

"I do not take it as pressure, but as a huge opportunity,” Moss said. “My goal was always to make the Olympic team. We are playing Team USA this summer, so I was very excited when I found out that news. I was pumped because, basically, the game is a free invite for them to watch me perform.”

The Bandits organization is hosting the Women’s National Team for a week-long training camp in June, which includes three exhibition games pitting Team USA and the Chicago Bandits. While the exhibition games present singular moments to shine, Moss recognizes that her performance over the entire summer could prompt that desired Olympics tryout invite.

Coming off her best year in the professional league, Moss prepared for the 2019 season by focusing on small things that make sizable differences.

"It is doing the behind-the-scenes work of getting in the weight room, doing the sprint training, putting in extra tee work here and there. As you mature in the game, you don't necessarily need to go out there and practice for hours or do the fundamentals over and over. It is the little work day-to-day that keeps me fresh and healthy."

Moss’s maturation in the game led to a steady ascension to the top of the NPF.

Moss registered sub-.200 batting averages in her first two seasons in the league. She admitted that her lack of success at the plate was, in part, self-inflicted pressure.

“In my first two years in the league, I came in and made it way bigger than I needed to,” Moss said. “I was trying to prove myself when I did not really need to. Maturing in the game and realizing that I am there because I am good, then relaxing, helped me see the ball much better."

She credited a renewed mental mindset with the jump in production from 2016 to 2017. Moss moved from a .183 batting average in 2016 to a .341 average in 2017, combining that with 42 hits and 23 runs scored.

Following her successful 2017 campaign, Moss spent the offseason in Chicago, giving her full access to the Bandits facilities, the team trainer, and even some Bandits employees who would throw soft toss during breaks.

Moss brought a healthy mindset in the box, elevated confidence from the 2017 season and a complete offseason workout regimen with Bandits staff members to her 2018 campaign. In her Player of the Year season, she boasted a .442 average with 65 hits and scored 38 runs, all professional single-season highs for Moss.

Ahead of the 2019 season, Moss took a different offseason approach. Rather than stay in Chicago and train as a player, Moss flipped to a role as coach. She accepted an assistant coach position at the school she attended, North High School in Bakersfield, California.

Viewing the game through a different lenses has helped Moss see some opportunities to grow in her own game.

"As a player, we limit ourselves. We do not know our true potentials. As a coach, you see that potential in your athletes, and you try so hard to bring that out of them and push them out of their comfort zones. I think that can help me grow as a player. I realize that maybe I have more in myself after seeing it from that coaching perspective."

As Moss finishes her brief chapter as coach and transitions into player for her fifth season in the NPF, she reflected on a time when she did not think competitive softball beyond college would be in her future.

“I really had no idea about the NPF. I thought that my senior year was coming up and that my career was going to be over. I was thinking that I would have to find a job. Then, they came to me with the NPF. I was grateful for that because, for someone who is competitive as I am, that is what I am truly passionate about – competing against the best and getting to play the sport that I love."

Moss’s career as a Bandit has been a gradual climb. Her 2018 Player of the Year recognition ranks as a personal honor, one she wants to replicate this season. If she can do that, fulfilling her lifelong dream of being an Olympian may become possible.

“If I stand out and have another season like I did last year, that could be an eye catcher."

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2019 NPF Player of the Year: Amanda Chidester

Chicago Bandits slugger Amanda Chidester is Softball America's NPF Player of the Year.