01/21/12 — Versatility is Bell's calling card on collegiate level

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Versatility is Bell's calling card on collegiate level

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on January 21, 2012 11:07 PM

A fierce competitor in the pitcher's circle, a dependable glove in the field and a tough out at the plate, Brooke Bell is the definition of versatility on the softball field.

A mainstay in the Charles B. Aycock lineup for the past four seasons, the senior right-hander will continue her softball career at Pitt Community College. Bell attended a Pitt softball showcase for high school players in mid-December and immediately turned the heads of the Bulldogs' coaching staff.

"Brooke came and immediately we saw a difference in her than in a lot of the other players that were there," Pitt head coach Junior Bailey said. "That's what we're looking for. We're looking for that kid that kind of shines at our clinics. We put her in the infield and we put her in the outfield and we didn't see any kind of drop off.

"Kids that come out of this program at C.B. Aycock, they're winners and you can't teach that."

Pitt finished 49-10 last season and reached the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I tournament.

Unafraid to pitch hitters inside, Bell has emerged as one of the top hurlers in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference. She has tallied 25 career wins, a 1.79 earned run average and 198 strikeouts in 203 innings. Bell has a .425 batting average in 259 at-bats.

She was part of a Golden Falcons squad that went 21-6 and reached the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs last season. During her time inside the circle, Aycock has posted a 35-16 record, including an 18-4 mark in ECC play.

"Brooke's just a competitor," Golden Falcons' head coach Brad Matthews said. "When she comes to practice she's always one of the first there and one of the last to leave. She's always wanting to get a few more cuts in or throw a few more pitches.

"She's a leader and she's got that desire to go to the next level."

As a freshman, Bell was an integral part of Aycock's run through the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs. The Golden Falcons won the east regional championship at Walnut Creek and fell two wins shy of a state championship

"I feel like playing in big games here at Aycock will help me transition to the college level because our schedule is tough," Bell said. "We play a lot of tough teams and if I face the tough teams it will better prepare me for the next level."

Bell is expected to play primarily at shortstop while contributing at the plate and competing for time in the pitcher's circle at Pitt.

"Brooke is going to go and compete and if she shows she's the number one pitcher, she's the number one," Bailey said. "The nice thing is she brings a very good stick. At the junior college level we may start out with 20 players and by the end of the season we might be down to 14, so being versatile is huge."