First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON – The cherished records of Hannah Hayes, a 2002 graduate of Lumberton High School, might soon be gone with the wind.
The Pirates softball coach’s single-season records for batting average, doubles, stolen bases and home runs are being assaulted by a young, gifted brunette with a strong work ethic and a love for “America’s Next Top Model.”
Brittany Bruce, the Pirates’ all-everything shortstop has been terrorizing pitchers and base runners her entire life.
“I played t-ball and little league baseball, but I can’t even remember what age I started at,” Bruce said.
Bruce was inspired by her parents to hone her diamond skills, so she began playing baseball with boys on traveling all-star teams and then at Littlefield Middle School.
“I never had any trouble (playing with boys),” said Bruce. “They always just treated me like one of the guys.”
One of those guys was Thomas Williams, a freshman standout on the Lumberton baseball team.
“Thomas and I are so close, we’re like brother and sister,”Bruce said. “Sometimes he comes to games and gives me advice, but half the time I don’t pay attention to what he says.”
Hayes said that she knew Bruce was a Division I college prospect the first time she ever saw her on a field.
“She’s got quick hands and incredible bat,” Hayes said. “She can cover a large area of the field, that most second baseman in High School can’t.”
At the start of her freshman year, Bruce was tentative about becoming a leader on a team that returned 11 juniors and seniors.
Fifteen games later that’s not longer the case.
“They love her to death,” Hayes said. “She’s a little shy, but on the field she’s talkative and they to her because they know she knows the games. She’s one of the strongest leaders we have and I think her teammates really respect her.”
Currently Bruce has recorded team-highs in batting average, .400, doubles, 11, homeruns, 1 and stolen bases, 10.
“I wanna win the whole thing,” said Bruce referring to the state 4-A softball championship. “I want to go all the way.”
When asked what her favorite memory from the season was, Bruce blurted out abruptly “All I remember is my homerun at Hoke.” “All I was thinking was ‘go ball.'”
For now, Bruce will continue her ascenion through the Lumberton record books