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Miami Ace Brianna Pratt Played Workhorse In Her Swan Song

Brianna Pratt Photo by Miami Athletics.jpg
(Photo by Miami Athletics)

The final win of Brianna Pratt's five-year college softball career was perhaps her most fulfilling one. Facing Kentucky in the NCAA Regional semifinals, Pratt's squad, the Miami University RedHawks, faced elimination.

With her team’s back against the wall, Pratt delivered in a big way by pitching a complete-game shutout, giving up just three hits and one walk in the 9-0 mercy-rule win. The win advanced the RedHawks to the Regional final and gave Pratt her 32nd win of the season, which was the highest mark of anyone in the nation in 2023.

“One of the first big games I pitched in as a freshman was against Kentucky,” Pratt said. “I remember being 18 years old and getting put out there to save the ERA of our starting pitcher at the time, so her ERA would stay great.”

In her five-year career at Miami, Pratt accomplished many feats. Miami won six MAC championships overall—regular-season and tournament combined—in Pratt’s time with the program. Pratt was also the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2019 and a First-Team All-MAC selection in her final two seasons.

Pratt’s final year with the program tested her abilities the most. In 2023, Pratt pitched 277.1 innings, which was 110 innings more than her previous career-high for a single season and the most of any pitcher in the country. Despite an increased workload, Pratt was able to sustain a great ERA throughout the season, finishing the campaign at 2.90 and her career at 2.91.

Before Pratt’s time at Miami, her softball career started at the travel level when she was 10 years old.

“I felt so small and thought all the girls I was playing against were huge,” Pratt said. “It was very overwhelming to think I would have to pitch against them, but also very exciting.”

The thought of playing softball at the collegiate level did not even cross Pratt’s mind until her freshman year of high school. Winning an eastern nationals tournament with her travel team gave Pratt the confidence that she could reach the next level.

When deciding where to play at the next level, the decision for Pratt was quite simple. Miami had the education and team culture that she was looking for. However, the idea of competing in college versus actually doing it are two very different things.

“Everyone always says it’s hard and a lot of work. I kind of went in expecting that,” Pratt said. “But I don’t think any of that ever prepares you for the mental and physical exhaustion you really go through when going through an entire offseason and season.”

As a freshman in 2019, Pratt was placed in a leadership role. Being a starting pitcher made her the leader on the field for a group of mostly 22-year-olds. As challenging as that was for Pratt, who was 18 at the time, it made her an even stronger leader once she became an upperclassmen and team captain.

“Playing softball really is a game of failure and it’s not an easy sport,” Pratt said. “It taught me to overcome fears and challenges through my career. I went through a lot of mental health issues. In college it’s very real as an athlete. I really had to dig deep within myself.”

In her final season at Miami in 2023, Pratt realized the importance of soaking up every moment of the journey and just having fun while playing the game. Following five seasons as a RedHawk player, Pratt desires to stay engaged with the program, while giving herself a mental and physical break.

“In terms of staying with the game, I’m excited to have a break. It’s been a long season,” Pratt said. “I’ll still be engaged in the Miami softball program and really following their games. If anyone ever needs me, I’ll always be an open ear to talk to. I hope to stay connected to the girls in some way, while also moving on with my life.”

As for what’s next for Pratt, she plans to take a step away from the game to take a much deserved break after playing competitive softball for much of her life. In whichever career she pursues, Pratt will take with her the lessons she learned from her time at Miami.

“I think the biggest thing is learning that sometimes you really do have to figure out how to help yourself,” Pratt said. “(That helps you) be the best version (of yourself) for the people around you.”

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