Delivering 2,153 curve, rising, breaking and fastball pitches over the span of 31 games, Brownstown Central senior Kourtney Branaman commanded the circle on the softball field.

Over 145 innings, Branaman struck out 138 batters as she controlled the defense working with senior catcher Maeleigh Tidd.

The senior went 17-5 while pitching for the Braves.

“We had a lot of confidence in her,” Braves coach Monte Ault said. “From last year to this year, she seemed to be more focused. She always worked hard, but this year she knew that she wanted to go out strong. Her pitching carried us a long way.”

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Branaman’s efforts on the diamond helped the Braves improve from a 9-13 record in 2014 to 22-9 this past spring.

With her accomplishments this season, The Tribune has named Branaman the 2015 Softball Player of the Year.

From the begging of the season, on March 31, to May 1 Branaman went 9-0 as the starting pitcher.

Branaman wasn’t a stranger to pitching a ton of games, as she has started games since her freshman year.

From her freshman to senior year, Branaman also pitched in sectional games — when it mattered most.

“I’ve pitched a lot since my freshman year,” Branaman said. “I was kind of used to it going into my senior year. I like it, I feel like I have an important role. My screwball and curve are usually my strongest pitches — where I get the most strikeouts.”

It wasn’t necessarily the Braves’ plan to have Branaman take a bulk of the pitches at the beginning of the season, but she earned the time with her improvements and tenacity.

“We didn’t really have a plan on pitching one girl or the other,” Braves assistant coach Darren Bryant said. “Statistically, she deserved to get a majority of it. When we were on the mound in a tough spot she was the one.

“Last year, she gave up quite a few home runs. She was elevating the ball in the strike zone. (This season) she hit the corners really well and kept it lower. Her change up and rise ball got better. The rise ball was a pretty effective pitch for her this year.”

Since she was 8 years old, Branaman has pitched.

She credited Columbus’ Eddie Loweth for a lot of her pitching successes, as she has worked with him over the years between private instruction and travel ball.

While she fell into a little slump her junior year at the plate, hitting near the bottom of the rotation, Branaman responded in her final year with the Braves finishing in the top three and four spots in multiple batting categories.

Branaman improved by 11 hits from her junior to senior year.

“She hit well her freshman year and then slumped off and came back strong this year,” Bryant said. “Towards the end of the year she as one of her hottest hitters. When we got in the heat of our conference she was coming through.”

Over the Braves’ final eight games, Branaman notched 10 hits and seven RBIs.

Ault said he also noticed the improvement in Branman’s hitting.

“She always been a pretty good hitter,” he said. “She gets good contact. She was strong then got into a slump. She got more relaxed being a senior. She looked for pitches she could hit. She worried more about getting the hit than getting struck out. She swung at good pitches.”

One of seven seniors on this year’s Braves squad, Branaman knew that this year’s team had lots of potential.

The 2015 seniors had played together for years, and Branaman said that the team was a close-knit group that worked well together.

Leading up to the season, Branaman put in the extra effort to improve her game.

“Her leadership and attitude has always been great,” Ault said. “Being a senior on the mound. She worked hard at it, she would go in at 8 a.m. and go with a pitching and hitting coach. She worked hard.”

In the fall, Branaman will attend Indiana University to study speech and language pathology.

The future Hoosier said she wanted to focus on her studies to pursue her dream job.

Branaman said she plans on continuing to stay involved in softball by helping coach youth ball and joining intramural leagues.

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Player of the year

Kourtney Branaman// Brownstown Central// Senior


138 strikeouts

109 hits

51 walks

49 runs (34 earned)

1.64 earned run average


89 at-bats

33 hits (nine doubles, two home runs)

17 runs batted in

18 runs scored

.371 average

.434 on base percentage


All-Mid-Southern Conference

2015 Braves MVP

2015 Braves leading pitcher award

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Maeleigh Tidd//Brownstown Central//Senior

Batting: 40 H (14 2B, 2 HR), 27 RBI, 2 R, .417 AVG

Honors: 2015 Braves Defensive Player of the Year, All-Mid-Southern Conference.

Brooke Ebbing//Brownstown Central//Senior

Batting: 46 H (7 2B, 3 HR), 14 RBI, 25 R, .430 AVG

Honors: 2015 Braves leading hitter award, All-Mid-Southern Conference Honorable Mention.

Beth Wayman//Brownstown Central//Junior

Batting: 34 H (13 2B, 4 HR), 15 RBI, 33 R, .343 AVG

Honors: All-Mid-Southern Conference Honorable Mention.

Katelyn Gray//Brownstown Central//Junior

Batting: 34 H (6 2B, 1 3B 5 HR), 21 RBI, 22 R, .333 AVG

Lisa Scott//Brownstown Central//Junior

Batting: 26 H (5 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR), 20 RBI, 17 R, .299 AVG

Emily Bobb//Seymour//Senior

Batting: 46 H (5 2B, 1 3B), 12 RBI, 25 R, .447 AVG

Honors: 2015 Owls MVP/Offensive Player of the Year/ Mental Attitude, All-HHC, Academic All-State honorable mention, All-District.

Faith Rebber//Seymour//

Batting: 31 H (10 2B, 4 3B), 29 RBI, 22 R, .369

Honors: 2015 Owls Offensive Player of the Year.

Lo Schmidt//Seymour//Sophomore

Batting: 32 H (6 2B, 1 HR), 19 RBI, 22 R, .438 AVG

Honors: 2015 Owls Defensive Player of the Year, All-HHC honorable mention.

Baylee Robinson//Seymour//Junior

Batting: 30 H (9 2B, 1 HR), 17 RBI, 18 R, .353 AVG

Honors: 2015 Owls Defensive Player of the Year.

Taylor Reynolds//Trinity Lutheran//Junior

Batting: 32 H (10 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR), 28 RBI, 26 R, .471 AVG

Taylor Russell//Trinity Lutheran//Sophomore

Batting: 31 H (1 2B, 1 3B), 9 RBI, 33 R, .408 AVG

Kaitlyn Wright//Trinity Lutheran//Senior

Pitching: 45 1/3 IP, 34 K, 39 H, 13 W, 26 R (13 ER), 2.01 ERA

Batting: 23 H (5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR), 19 RBI, 14 R, .397 AVG

Honors: 2015 Cougars Coaches Award

Natalie Plofkin//Trinity Lutheran//Senior

Pitching: 68 2/3 IP, 75 K, 59 H, 33 W, 45 R (26 ER), 2.65 ERA

Batting: 31 H (8 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR), 31 RBI, 29 R, .437 AVG

Honors: 2015 Cougars MVP

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Avery Clark//Seymour//Junior

Taylor Russell//Trinity Lutheran//Sophomore

Morgan Gabbard//Trinity Lutheran//Freshman

Lacey Hall//Crothersville//Freshman

Mackenzie Farmer//Seymour//Senior


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