Brooke Cooper has consistently been one of the top hitters in Holtville’s lineup this season but the third baseman took it to another level during the team’s trip to Gulf Shores for a tournament during spring break. Cooper had 13 hits across eight games as the Bulldogs averaged 6.5 runs per game, including a 15-0 win over Pleasant Valley during the second round of bracket play. She is the Elmore County Player of the Week.
“The offense didn’t have the flow that we wanted to have top to bottom so we moved the lineup around a little bit,” Holtville coach Darryl Otwell said. “We moved her into that two-hole and she immediately had a big game. She had a solid week at the plate and in the field.”
Holtville’s 15 runs in the game is a season high and Cooper was in the middle of it the whole game. She finished with four hits, including a double and her first home run of the season.
“It felt really good,” Cooper said. “I didn’t think it was going over so I was running to first and when I heard everyone say it was over, I actually tripped over first base. I was just happy.”
She finished that game with a career-high six RBIs and recorded at least one RBI in all six of the team’s wins during the tournament. Cooper also led the team with four runs scored in the win over Pleasant Valley.
In five of Holtville’s victories, the Bulldogs outscored their opponents 44-0 behind big offensive performances across the lineup. Cooper recorded multiple RBIs in four of those wins.
“We feel like our lineup, top to bottom, is a really good lineup,” Otwell said. “They really woke up for this week. They look more comfortable at the plate and they’ve started to have better swings.”
Cooper more than doubled her season total for runs batted in, knocking in 18 across the eight-game tournament. She is now the team’s RBI leader with 31 on the season, six shy of her career high.
“I was really just doing what I normally do,” Cooper said. “I just have to go up there and relax and keep believing in myself.”
While Cooper entered the season as Holtville’s No. 2 pitcher, other players have stepped up in the circle so Cooper can focus more on her hitting and fielding. Her difference at the plate can easily be seen in the scorebook but Otwell said her biggest impact may be in the field.
“She is still a threat pitching but she’s got a great glove at third base,” Otwell said. “Whenever she goes to the mound, it can open up some holes in our defense.”
While Cooper has shown her variety of skills throughout the season, her bat is a clear strength for the Bulldogs moving forward. She is now batting .398 on the season and has seen that number only rise over the last two weeks.
“If they continue to have the bats, we’re going to be tough to beat,” Otwell said. “I told them I don’t care if you’re batting .100 right now, it’s about what we can do late in the season and we’re getting ready to turn that corner.”