Kent State's Brenna Brownfield Is Not Finished Yet
Heading into her final season of college softball, Brenna Brownfield was poised to lead Kent State to team success. After all, Brownfield was the 2019 MAC Player of the Year and an offensive standout throughout her entire college softball career.
And Brownfield continued that run of success into 2021. A utility player who primarily serves as her team's DP, she was a constant force in Kent State's lineup this year, batting .317 with five home runs and 22 RBI. That is, before she suffered a season-ending injury a few weeks ago.
But, Brownfield isn't done with college softball just yet. She announced on Instagram earlier this week that she will return to Kent State next season.
After a freshman season that included a selection to the All-MAC second team, Brownfield elevated her game as a sophomore. That year, back in 2019, Brownfield posted a .342 batting average to go along with six homers and 25 RBI.
She attributes this elevation in her game mostly to her coaching staff, but also cites improvements to her mental game as contributing factors for her success.
“I worked a lot on my mental game and being prepared,” Brownfield said. “After my freshman year, I realized what role I had on the team and what I needed to do to help our team succeed more. I give a lot of credit to my coaches. I have changed so much since freshman year because of them.”
Brownfield was also able to draw on the experience of her sister, Bailey, who was already on the Kent State roster when Brenna joined the program. Having that family rivalry pushed each of them to be better athletes.
“We were helping each other, but pushing each other at the same time,” she added. “We both were very different athletes. She was someone that I looked up to, not just as my sister, but as an athlete because she was so good. Having the competition, but still being family kept us really close the whole time we played together.”
Bailey holds several school records, but Brenna is looking to continue to add to her own mark on the program’s history for the remainder of her time at Kent State.
Earning MAC Player of the Year honors was only the start for her, she believes. Brownfield put up even more impressive stats during the shortened 2020 season. Hitting at a .429 clip through 19 games, Brownfield had already amassed four home runs and 21 RBI despite playing in half as many contests as the previous season.
One of Brownfield’s favorite games in college was against Georgia last year. She launched a home run in the very first inning of that contest, giving Kent State a momentary lead against the highly-regarded SEC team.
In addition to her success at the plate, Brownfield also contributes to her team in the circle. She holds a career record of 9-8 with 39 strikeouts. For all that she contributes to Kent State, Brownfield has certainly been an impact player for her squad, similar to fellow MAC standout and hometown neighbor Courtney Vierstra. Vierstra, who plays for Miami, is a former high school teammate of Brownfield's from back home in Thornville, Ohio.
“To see our college teams both be successful with each of us choosing our own path is really cool,” Brownfield said. “It’s very fun to play against her, but we are both very competitive and want to win.”
Reflecting on her career, Brownfield is grateful for the communication skills she has learned during her time in college softball.
“Being in college, I have learned the importance of voicing your opinion and standing up for yourself,” she added. “The experience of having hard conversations with coaches and teammates will translate into communication skills that will help me tremendously in my career after softball.”
But her softball career isn’t over just yet. Brownfield is eager to build upon both her personal and team success going forward.
“We are all very proud to be here and play at a program that has such a good history of players and team success and championships,” Brownfield stated. “As a team, that makes us want to keep it going.”