Longhorn’s Hannah Brooks (22) during the Johnson County’s 2020 season opening win. Brooks finished the game on the mound and is credited with the win. File photo
By Tim Chambers
Hannah Brooks is an excellent softball player. She’s also the type of young lady that makes coaches and dad’s proud. With nicknames like the ’Hammer and “Crusher,” Brooks was destined to become the all-time career home run leader at JCHS if she had a modest season.But more importantly, she’s the type of player that definitely puts college softball coaches in the stands. The COVID-19 virus has robbed many high school season of a lot of things, but none no more than Brooks whose tape-measure home run shots for three seasons have been enough to make her own highlight reel. More important, Brooks is very active in her community and her church. She wasn’t bitter when talking about the season coming to a sudden halt.“God always has a plan, and sometimes we don’t know what it is until it happens,” said Brooks. “I’m not the only one missing out, but many of my friends and teammates are too. We’ll get through this, but I wish it could be now. I don’t know what to do with all this time I have in the afternoon. I’m always used to having a game or practicing. I absolutely love the game of softball. It’s a big part of my life.
”Brooks has been hammering the ball since age five when she got started in the T-Ball league. Many of my teammates and I have played together for years,” said Brooks.
“Losing softball is like losing a part of your family. Not just your teammates you see every day but the players you compete against. Many of them are my friends too.”
Brooks has a great deal of respect for Elizabethton’s head softball coach Kenny Hardin and several of his players.
“I’m good friends with some of them,” said Brooks, who talks with some of the opposition from time to time.” “We all have never seen anything like it. I figured it would be over in just a few weeks, but now we’re all beginning to wonder. We’re all missing out on a lot of stuff, but I’m not bitter. I just want to see people get healthy and for everything to be back like it was. It’s not something that anyone enjoys going through. It costs my friends and me a chance to make a lot of memories. Nobody will ever know what the outcome might have been for us this year, but we had a lot of good players more than we knew what to do with. We had freshmen players pushing seniors for playing time and all sorts of stuff. I felt like this was finally our year to show people that we could be at the top and win championships up here after the year our girls’ basketball team had.”
Brooks feels like if the season resumes, it would be like conference games only or a tournament.
“We have to try and cope with the fact that we might not ever get to play together again,” said Brooks. “Softball left us; we didn’t leave it.” “Many players were hoping to use this year to plan their future to get their college paid for possibly. It’s not just up here. It’s everywhere. I think now all everybody wants a chance to play.”
Brooks went back to the 9-8 win at Sullivan East.
“It gave us excitement and a confidence level like none other,” said Brooks. “Then we heard about schools that were close to us in North Carolina and surrounding areas that stopped playing, and we got scared. We sort of expected it to stop, but you don’t know how to deal with it. Our coaches want to play, and all the team does.”
The team got together and conducted a couple of practices away from the school at the City Park without any of their coaches present recently before the parks got shut down.
“It’s been hard for on me because I lost my grandfather just a few months ago, so I wanted to do well for him,” said Brooks. “Losing him and softball in such a short time, along with my senior year has been very hard on me.”
Brooks thinks the team will be ready to play if their number is called.
“We will be ready and play with all our hearts,” said Brooks. “We just want a chance to compete out last year and play one last time.”