Danielle Brown describes herself in a way that might strike opposing batters as a surprise.
“Well I would say I am pretty giddy in all actuality. I like to laugh and make people laugh,” Brown said.
But to anyone unfortunate enough to face her from the batter’s box, Danielle’s game is anything but a joke.
This might have something to do with Brown’s approach when stepping on the mound.
“I just try and dominate,” Brown said. “I try and strike out every batter that I can.”
In early April, the Orange Park native proved that she could do that better than anyone by becoming Florida A&M University’s all time strikeout queen with 530 strikeouts.
“She set some goals for herself last season. And this year she has really taken on the challenge to achieve them,” said Rattler softball head coach Veronica Wiggins.
“That was a goal I have been aiming at ever since my freshman year. I wanted to leave a legacy”, Brown said.
She did just that, sending 19 batters to their seats in the dugout over a four game stretch. With that, Brown had taken the strikeout crown from former Lady Rattler Tenyse Tasby, who registered 519 strikeouts in her four-year career.
Wiggins feels that the team is thriving off of Brown’s accomplishment.
“The response has been great. We are just doing our best to make sure that she keeps that record,” Wiggins said.
After finally securing her place in the Rattlers history books, the senior construction engineering major was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief.
“Man I was so relieved,” Brown said. “I had been working hard all season and to finally get it felt great.”
Wiggins also said that it’s Brown’s approach to the game that helps her and her teammates succeed.
“She has continued to lead this team,” Wiggins said. “She comes into the game with such intensity and she is so energetic. Her teammates feed off of that.”
While Brown’s teammates feed off her intensity, Brown uses the support of her family as a catalyst for her success. From her brother’s daily advice about softball and life, to her mother’s cheerleading, Brown’s family has been there.
“My mother has been my biggest mentor,” Brown said. “She has been very supportive of me all year.”
Brown’s mother, Geneva Brown, said that this support was needed more than ever after Brown’s father, Dana Brown, passed away during Danielle’s freshman year of college.
“He died from a heart attack on Christmas Eve,” Geneva Brown said. “They were really close, so it took a toll on her.”
Since her father passed, Brown has made sure that each pitch that crosses the plate is an ode to her parents.
“I go out and dedicate every game to my parents, especially my dad,” she said.
Brown has become the Lady Rattler’s workhorse, pitching eight stellar complete games for the team this year. Brown also boasts a 3.65 ERA and a 13-9 record.
But her abilities on the diamond are not limited to the mound. Brown is also quite handy with a bat. Her .364 batting average and 45 RBIs invoke the same fear in pitchers that she routinely stirs in batters from her perch on the mound.
Surprisingly, Brown isn’t content with garnering accolades for her exploits as a pitcher. She wants to write her name on another page of the history books. It may sound funny to hear “pitcher” and “home run” coexist happily in the same sentence, but she plans to change all of that.
“Right now, I am trying to get that home run record,” Brown said.
This notion doesn’t seem like a foreign one, considering that Brown has a team leading 11 home runs. But for know she will have to enjoy the strikeout title.
“I just try to have fun and help out as much as I can on the mound,” Brown said.
If by helping, she means capture another record, then opponents won’t be having much fun – all jokes aside.
Contact Akeem Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org