Freshman softball player Brooke Cannon has played a key part in the team’s success this season.
The infielder has started all 18 games and won Patriot League Rookie of the Week twice, most recently after a 5-5 batting performance against conference foe Army.
For Cannon, the transition to college and Division I softball was not easy. Due to COVID-19, she’s spent most of her freshman year in isolation, rarely interacting with her peers outside of practice and her roommates.
“I give Brooke a lot of credit because she hasn’t let the situation affect her ability to perform,” said head coach Fran Troyan. “Brooke has sorted out how to relax a little bit and that allows her to play to her ability level right away. That is really hard for freshmen to do.”
Starting softball at the age of eight, Cannon wasn’t always as passionate about the game. Tagging along with her sister, who also played, her love for the game grew as well as her work ethic.
She admits the start to the season was a tough transition compared to high school because of the increased level of competition.
“I got used to it and started working hard to match their level and the transition became smoother,” Cannon said.
Her hard work can be seen in her numbers, said senior infielder Payton Alsobrooks.
Alsobrooks is a leader on the team—and someone Cannon has leaned on while navigating her first year.
Due to the pandemic, the team has not been able to connect outside of the parameters of practice. For Cannon, as well as the other freshmen on the roster, this has prevented them from experiencing Lehigh to the fullest and hindered their ability to bond with teammates.
However, this has caused the team to make the most of every moment together. Alsobrooks says when the team goes into practice, they know it’s going to be fun because it is the only time all 16 of them can spend together.
Alsobrooks said practice is an area where Cannon shines. Cannon comes into every practice with a plan of something she needs to work on, and instructs her teammates and coaches about this initiative.
Alsobrooks said one day she came into practice saying she needs to work on all outside pitches. She voiced this to the team, so they know exactly how to help her.
Her constant drive to improve has led to her success. On a team with heavy contribution from the freshmen class, her performance has been monumental for team success and growth for the future.
“Brooke has set the tone for her class,” Alsobrooks said. “All of our freshmen have played such a big role this year and having one freshman lead that pack will create a magnet effect.”
Her awards symbolize the work Cannon has put in to be successful, and she considers them a great honor.
“Playing a Division I sport is hard, and just trying to stay strong (especially through the pandemic) there’s always been times I’ve doubted my ability,” she said.
As she continues to perform, her confidence increases and her teammates’ trust in her grows.
Alsobrooks said the Moutain Hawks can trust her to produce, which isn’t always the case with freshmen, especially with the lack of preseason games to get their feet wet.
Troyan said he sees an opportunity for Cannon to elevate her play even more over the course of her career
Cannon and her team take on Bucknell in a doubleheader at Leadership Park on April 24.