Playing in her second season at shortstop for Weber State, sophomore Brooke Silva has been a key cog to the Wildcats’ successful season thus far.
Last week Silva was named Player of the Week for the Pacific Coast Softball Conference after going 9-for-18 at the dish with two home runs, six RBI and six runs scored. Silva backed up her recognition by driving in the game-winning run in the Wildcats’ conference opener against Seattle University. Her play is gaining acknowledgement from more than the PCSC.
“She’s been great,” Weber State coach Tina Johnson said. “She hit a home run the other day and her defense has been very solid. She’s definitely matured and become a more complete player. Probably a player that definitely has calmed down and has better control over her emotions. This season she’s using that fire that she has in a very positive way.”
Johnson is not the only person who has been impressed with Silva’s work this season.
“She’s swinging the bat pretty good and it looks like she’s stronger,” Ray Charles, Silva’s ex-coach at Reed and now the Raiders baseball team, said. “I’m glad she’s having a lot of fun. I talk to her parents here and there and I follow some of the stuff of hers and the other kids that I’ve coached. I knew she’d have some success at the next level. Sometimes when they go to college you never know but she’s obviously working hard there so I’m excited for her and proud of her and what she’s doing for her team.”
Batting .333 on the season for the Wildcats, including 19 RBI and five home runs, and going .480 from the plate in conference play, Silva has more than helped her team and she’d have it no other way.
“It’s a good feeling to know that you’re helping your team,” Silva said. “The other day I had the winning hit and it felt good to know I was the one that hit those girls in. Just to see us winning and working as a team is good. I feel like if I’m hitting then other girls on our team are going to be hitting too. It gets me pumped to want to hit even more because I want to get the rest of the team going. If I start it, they’ll start and it’s good to see us succeed that way.
“Last year we had a rough season. We only won 12 games and coming back this year I didn’t know how we’d do because we had 11 freshmen coming in so we were going to be young again. I was really excited to see how we’d do because we had so much athletic ability. Just to see us coming out and winning is nice. We’ve won more this year than we did all of last year and we’re not even halfway through the conference season.”
Currently sitting at 16-21 overall and 5-3 in PCSC play, topping its 2011 total wins by four, Weber State is looking to surprise many people outside of Ogden, Utah. Silva wants to make sure her team stays on track.
“I try to be a leader for the team,” Silva said. “Even being a sophomore, I still try to be that leader and show that I’m here to win. I’m always telling my team ‘Girls, we need to do this for our seniors because this is their last year and this is the last time they’ll be playing softball.’ I think they have a lot of respect for me starting every game as a freshman and then coming back this year and starting at short again. You have to look at your shortstop as a leader, and I feel that these girls do kind of look to me for that, especially the freshmen this year and I’m always there to give them extra help.”
It has been that leadership from Silva that has been felt the most from the Wildcats.
“She has been steady at shortstop,” Johnson said. “She’s always very supportive. She’ll run up to the pitcher and give them encouragement and make sure they’re focused. Obviously with her bat, when she goes to hit she’ll come back and give a lot of information to the team. Brooke is young in age and she’s one of the younger kids on the team, but she has a lot of experience from last year and she’s really helped the freshmen to understand what it means to be a Wildcat and the standard of excellence that we strive for.
“She has a desire to win and she hates losing more than she likes to win. That’s the type of kid we want on our team and we’re trying to recruit. You have to not want to lose more than you want to win and she has that fire. She wants and knows that we can be better and she wants to keep pushing and getting better. She steps up and isn’t afraid to call a kid out and tell them ‘Hey, you need to do better.’ Not all kids can do that.”
Being vocal and taking a role as a leader is not something new for Silva, and her old ball coach said it stems from her competitiveness.
“I coached Brooke for a lot of years and probably the biggest thing that Brooke has quality wise is she’s always competing,” Charles said. “That’s probably the best attribute about her. She is a competitor on the field. That’s always been her M.O. as far as when I coached her. She’s just a tough kid. She’ll give you everything she has on the field. She has a really good attitude and she works hard. That’s the thing I remember about her most. She was just an all-around solid kid. She worked hard and was a good leader. She is just an absolute competitor.”
While Silva’s competitive drive combined with her desire to win and refusal to lose has helped Weber State already best its mark from a year ago, Silva remains unsatisfied.
“I just want to keep my bat going for the rest of the season,” Silva said. “It’s going great right now. I just want to keep the team going with that. I want to continue to be a bigger hitter for my team and continue to be a leader for my team on the field. I want to pick up my teammates if they make an error and pick myself up if I make an error.
“We’re at a really good level right now of playing together as a team and hitting as a team and stringing those hits together. I want us to keep that up. I think we’re going to end up being at the top this year. Last year we got last place and this year I’m confident we’re going to be in the top three.”
As long as the fire in Silva still burns, the Wildcats have a shot.