06/11/11 — Brooke Bell - All-Area softball player of the year

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Brooke Bell - All-Area softball player of the year

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 11, 2011 11:03 PM

Brooke Bell is firmly in control -- calm and collected at all times both on the softball field and off, but don't be fooled. Under the smiling facade lies a fierce competitor with an eye on a lofty goal.

"I want to win a state championship ring next season because it's the one goal that I think we all have as a team," said Bell. "I thought we had a chance to go after it this season, but it didn't really work out. Next year we have a lot of returning players so I think we can put ourselves in that position."

A junior, Bell asserted herself as the leader of the Golden Falcons in the field and at the plate this season. In 88 at-bats she struck out just one time and she tallied 18 wins inside the pitcher's circle.

All of that production has led to Bell being named the 2011 News-Argus All-Area Softball Player-of-the-Year.

"Brooke is a huge part of the program here and we are excited to have her coming back again next season," said Golden Falcons head coach Brad Matthews. "It gives me a lot of confidence as a coach knowing that I have a quality pitcher I can turn to as well as a solid bat in the middle of the lineup."

Bell began her ascent to the pinnacle of the softball mountain as a wide-eyed freshman under Matthews' watchful eye in 2009. She immediately showed off her ability to throw strikes in key moments and displayed an uncanny knack for coming through in big moments.

Being in a pressure situation could not matter less to Bell.

"As a pitcher I feel like I am in control of the game at all times," she said. "I play a lot of travel softball and I have obviously been in a lot of high school games, so it kind of comes natural and I don't really get nervous."

As a freshman, Bell anchored the Golden Falcons' run through the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs and helped the team win the east regional championship at Walnut Creek. The team fell two wins short of a state championship, but the experience left a taste in all of the player's mouths.

The Golden Falcons entered 2011 as the favorites in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference and claimed a share of the regular-season league title. South Johnston claimed the ECC tournament crown. C.B. Aycock entered the playoffs with a 20-5 record which included two wins over eventual 3-A state champion D.H. Conley.

The Golden Falcons lost in the second round of the playoffs at Wilson Hunt.

"I knew we had a tough draw with Wilson Hunt in the second round," Matthews said. "Hopefully next season we can earn a little better spot in the bracket and give ourselves the best chance to make a run."

The Golden Falcons will certainly have a chance with Bell in the pitcher's circle.