Some players quit playing a sport because of an injury or because they no longer like it. For Live Oak High’s Brooke Morris, it was a practical decision.
“I played a lot of basketball when I was younger,” Morris said. “But when I was in junior high and I was 5-foot-2, I figured out it might not be the best sport for me. That’s when I started playing fastpitch softball.”
Just a few years removed from that “ah ha” moment, the LOHS shortstop is preparing for two milestones. On Thursday, Morris graduates from high school and then on Friday she’ll take her game to another level by playing for the East squad in the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s All-Star softball games at Louisiana College in Pineville.
Players report between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday and will have an afternoon practice before the first East vs. West game set for 7:30 p.m. Game 2 is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.
Morris is no stranger to the limelight. She’s earned district, all-metro and all-state honors before. As a senior, Morris led the Eagles to the their first berth in the Class 5A semifinals by hitting .423 with a .486 slugging percentage, 24 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.
Still, the Nicholls State signee goes into the LHSCA All-Star games looking to prove herself.
Some might say she’s driven, but those who know her, like Live Oak coach Michelle Morris, say that’s Brooke’s way.
“Brooke has been joy to coach,” Michelle Morris said. “She came in and played as a freshman and there were many times when we had put her in the lion’s den. More often than not she succeeded.
“From there, she’s continued to grow and get better every year. You’re not going to find a player who works harder. And she’s a great teammate and leader, she proved that this year with the four freshmen we started. She knew how to talk to them and work with them.”
But it’s the task at hand, the LHSCA All-Star games, that drives Morris, who is set to play either shortstop or second base at Nicholls.
“I see these games as being a transition to college,” Morris said. “You’ve got the best of the best players on the two teams. The top pitchers and the best hitters. Because of that, I think it will be a little like playing on the college level. I’m anxious to see how I do.”
In the spirit of full disclosure, Morris noted her other two motivations for wanting to succeed in the LHSCA games. First, she is following in the footsteps of a player she admires, former Live Oak teammate Natalie Fernandez, who is now plays for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It was Fernandez, then the LOHS shortstop, who mentored Morris three years ago.
A bout of recurring tendinitis in her throwing shoulder will make the LHSCA games her first and last of the summer. She is scheduled to rest and undergo therapy before heading to Thibodaux for fall classes at Nicholls.
Though she transformed herself from being primarily a slap hitter into more of a power hitter during her high school career, Morris said improving her offensive skills remains a priority. So in some ways, the LHSCA games offer one final exam.
“Everybody out there is going to be an all-star,” Morris said. “It’s a little bittersweet because this will be my last high school games. But you’ve got to be ready to compete and be the best you can be. That’s the challenge.”