Brooklyn Kotula isn’t following the exact footsteps of her mother. But just like her mom, she’s making a name for herself on the Ambridge sports scene.
In the late 1980s, Maria Morsillo Kotula starred on the track & field team. As a senior in ’89, she won the state shot put championship. Her throw of 46 feet, 1 inch set a Beaver County record that stood for 17 years.
Twenty-five years later, Maria’s daughter Brooklyn is making a name for herself in softball. Even though she’s a freshman, Brooklyn Kotula is the Bridgers’ starting third baseman. And she’s such a productive hitter that she bats clean-up.
“She’s a nice little player,” said coach Bubba Huwar. “She can play.”
In Huwar’s 14 seasons as coach, he’s never hesitated to start a freshman deserving of playing time. Ambridge has been lucky to have a girl or two almost every year who have been ready to play as ninth-graders. Shortstop Heather Mueller and pitcher Kelly Haslett, now juniors, were full-time starters as ninth-graders.
Mueller, who bats leadoff, has a .333 average so far for the 4-0 Bridgers.
Haslett, who bats third, is hitting .438.
But it’s Kotula who leads the team in hitting at .571.
Interestingly, both Kotula and Huwar used almost the exact same words to describe the freshman’s performance at the plate.
“She’s just pounding the crap out of the ball,” Huwar said.
“I was surprised when I got the chance to bat fourth,” Kotula said. “We have a lot of good hitters on our team, and any of them could be batting fourth instead of me. But I guess Bubba has confidence in me that I could hit. Things have been going great for our team and for me personally. I have been hitting the crap out of the ball.”
Last week, Ambridge took early control in Section 1-AAA with wins over Hopewell (7-6), Blackhawk (9-3) and Central Valley (9-3). On Saturday against CV, Haslett and Kotula led a 14-hit attack with three hits each.
“She hits the ball down and hard,” Huwar said. “She’s not a very big girl; she’s something like 5-foot-4 or 5-5. But she’s very athletic. She’s a well-conditioned athlete who works at the game. And she really knows the game.”
Just like her mother, who earned a track scholarship at Pitt, Kotula hopes to compete athletically at the next level. She hopes to play softball in college. But that’s way down the road.
Right now, this hot-shot freshman wants to carry on a proud family tradition at Ambridge.