Victoria Brady’s senior season on the Gering softball team is special.

Brady’s role is defensive as she is the starting first baseman and she doesn’t get at bats. That, to her, is fine because she realizes how important a role player is on a team.

“Stepping in as a role player is definitely a big part and you have a lot of pressure on you,” Brady said. “A lot of people rely on you and, being a first baseman, they rely on me to dig up balls at first base and pretty much to be a wall. It has been a lot of pressure lately, but I have been able to work under pressure.”

Brady said she realizes how important it is to be a role player and she is thriving in that role.

“I didn’t realize how big of an asset role players are to our team until I was one last year,” Brady said. “Last year, I was a designated runner and I was one of the role players for that. Being a role player was a great opportunity and I didn’t realize how much of an asset I was until after the season and towards the end of it because after all my points added up, I didn’t realize how much I contributed to the team.”

As a junior, Brady’s role was occasionally a starting outfielder or a designated runner. She accepted that, too, her junior year.

“I was a designated runner last year and I was playing outfield,” she said. “I was switched out with other outfielders. Sometimes I started and sometimes I sat and would come in halfway through the games.”

It takes a special player to be a designated runner, too.

“Coach Tim Gonzales says you have to have softball IQ,” Brady says. “It’s pretty much how smart you are on the bag and reading the pitches. Reading foul balls and line drives. He really looked to me to have that softball IQ and bring it down to the underclassmen, who also were very fast players on the team. They were very grateful for me to help them out with their softball IQ.”

Brady isn’t the only role player on the Gering softball team as they get ready for the final weeks of their season. It is the role players that make teams stronger and the Bulldogs have plenty of players that have accepted their roles.

As Brady is nearing the end of her high school softball career, there still is plenty of games left. This weekend Gering will compete in the GNAC tournament in North Platte. After that, they more than likely will host the sub-district tournament.

Brady said the goal of the team is to keep winning and rack up power points so they can get a good seed in the district finals. It all starts this weekend at GNAC in North Platte. Gering, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, will face No. 6 Columbus at 8 a.m. and then No. 2 North Platte roughly around noon before the place games will be played. The other pool has No. 1 Hastings, No. 4 McCook, and No. 5 Scottsbluff.

Brady and the rest of the team knows how important these games are.

“This weekend we need to win all of our games because we are so close to being in the top 16, which is big for us because if we can, we can go straight to districts,” Brady said. “Because we lost our last two games, we are just trying to get power points right now.”

Gering, who lost two contests over the past week because of rain outs – Saturday at home against Holyoke, Colorado, and Tuesday at Alliance, currently is 16th in wildcard points with a 16-8 record. The sub-district tournament is slated for Oct. 7 and 8, more likely in Gering with Alliance, Scottsbluff and Chadron.

What would make Brady’s season, as well as the other seniors on the team, is to make it to the state tournament. The Bulldogs have an impressive xx-x record so far this season and are aiming to achieve those goals.

“To do well this season is what I have been thriving to do. I have been doing my best and being a good asset to the team,” Brady said. “Hopefully, if everyone participates and does their part, I am hopeful we can go to state because if I go to state my senior year, that will be a dream come true.”

While softball is one of her loves, she also loves playing in the band, and playing the flute is something she loves doing. Tuesday night at the Gering and Ogallala volleyball match, Brady was in the pep band section playing away with her softball pants on.

“I love playing in the band, honestly, I go to softball to band all the time,” she said. “Friday nights for football games I go from softball to band all the time and I will be in my softball uniform and people tell me they can’t believe I do both of them, you must be busy. I honestly enjoy it. I don’t mind the hassle of being gone all the time. I don’t mine the band because I have a lot of my friends on there and we play great songs and a lot of people enjoy listening to us.”

That is right. There have been nights at the football or volleyball games where Brady has worn her softball uniform while performing. At the same time, she doesn’t mind staying busy because it is way of relaxing.

“Staying busy, honestly, relives a lot of my stress,” she said. “I usually stress about school work and staying busy and focusing on other things besides just focusing on just school work really keeps my mind off of it. Coming here tonight [to the volleyball game Tuesday], I was worried about homework and coming here just relieved things. I was focused on playing my instrument and having fun, being with friends, and watching the high school volleyball team.”

Brady, who plays the flute, said band is something she loves and most of her 10 siblings were involved with music in some aspect.

That is right. Brady has eight older brothers and sisters and two younger siblings. Her siblings include or holder siblings Neal, Kaitlyn, Jonathan, Nick, Ryan, Megan, Alex, and Joe, and her two younger siblings Abbey, who is a sophomore and Kelsey, who is an eighth grader.

“I am the ninth child, so there is a lot of us,” Brady said.

Brady said being in a big family is different.

“We have a lot of us and we are getting close to the end,” Brady said. “It is sad because our family has gone a long way and we haven’t realized how fast everyone will be out of high school. It definitely is scary because in five years, everyone will be gone [from high school].”

But the Brady clan will still be around considering Victoria she has seven nieces and nephews who live in Texas right now are planning on moving back real soon and attend high school here. Her oldest niece is 10 years old.

After she graduates in May, Brady will then turn in her cleats and glove in, as well as her running shoes in track, and plans to attend the University of Nebraska Lincoln, hopefully, and study pharmacy. She is, however, going to pursue her other love at UNL join the UNL concert band.

Playing in the band at UNL is something that she is looking forward to.

“Playing my instrument is obviously a joy for me,” she said. “Going through college without it will take a part of my heart away because it has been a piece of me since I was in the fifth grade.”

While she will have band to fall back on, it is saying goodbye to softball that will be the hardest.

“It is going to be rough especially softball. Softball has been a part of me since I was four,” Brady said. “I always have done league and high school softball every year and saying goodbye to it for good especially high school is extremely hard because I will be leaving all my friends and underclassmen friends as well. It will be rough when senior night comes around because I will be crying a lot because that is taking a part of me away and I know I will not be being a part of it again.”

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