Brock finishes career as one of Badgers’ best

first_imgHere’s the set, the wind and the delivery … swing and a miss, strike three, batter’s out.These are the sights and sounds that UW fans have become accustomed to over the past four years when senior hurler Eden Brock steps into the circle. When Brock’s career is all said and done, she will likely go down as one of the best pitchers to ever don a Wisconsin softball uniform.”My goal has just been to be successful,” Brock said.Her numbers indicate that she has accomplished her goal.As a freshman, Brock made an immediate impact, collecting 12 victories and finishing with an impressive 1.71 ERA.In her sophomore year, Brock had perhaps her best season at Wisconsin, guiding the team to the NCAA tournament. She not only started a career-high 33 games, but also earned her first 20-win season. Along the way, she struck out 135 batters — a stat she would repeat as a junior.Last year, Brock won 18 games, and pitched 21 complete games for the Badgers.This year, her numbers continue to impress. Brock set a new career high in strikeouts, and currently has 165 on the season with a few games remaining. She also has 14 victories, and her ERA stands at 2.04.Over the span of her career, she has collected 500 strikeouts, placing her in elite company; she is just one of three players in program history who can make that claim.The numbers, however, don’t tell the entire story.The ace pitcher contributes her success on the field to hard work and dedication off the field, and she feels that her coaches have been instrumental in getting her where she is today.”Just being adaptive to what’s going on and being able to change and listen to what the coaches say has really helped me,” Brock said. “Just learning how to pitch to batters at a higher level and work around them a little more has helped me the most.”Not only has Brock worked diligently to improve her own game over the years, but now, as a senior, she has been put in charge of helping freshman pitcher Letty Olivarez transition to the collegiate game.Olivarez has started 17 games for the Badgers, and has shown signs of promise under Brock’s tutelage, as has Leah Vanevenhoven, another of the team’s young pitchers.”She’s in there talking to [Letty] in between innings about what she should be doing, what she should be looking for, how to practice,” assistant coach Julie Wright said. “They work together in the bullpen, and she does the same thing with Leah.””I just try to help them out whenever they have problems,” Brock added. “We all talk to each other, we all help each other out. Whoever’s pitching, the other two pitchers have her back. … We kind of work together to help each other out in any way we can.”Even though Brock and Olivarez’s pitching styles differ, with Olivarez throwing more rise balls and Brock utilizing drop balls, the freshman has been able to gain valuable lessons from the senior.”On days when I’m pitching, she’s always there to comfort me,” Olivarez said. “Even when I’m having bad days, she’s like, ‘Oh Letty, you’re okay. Just do this to fix this.’ She’s always there to pick me back up.”With more than 100 starts in her college softball career, Brock has gained a tremendous amount of confidence and poise on the mound. This mentality has helped her to be the foundation for the Badgers year in and year out.”From her freshman year to now, the biggest difference … is that she truly wants that ball,” Wright said. “She’s taken charge on that mound and she wants it every pitch, every inning, every game. … She’s taken on that challenge from us to be our number one, to go out there and lead our young pitching staff, and to lead our team.””I’ve seen her improve most on her confidence, and just being comfortable on the mound,” catcher Joey Daniels said. “I think one of her best qualities is she is able to maintain composure in sticky situations.”Needless to say, it will be tough for the Badgers to replace Brock, who plans to move back to Florida after her senior year in pursuit of her off-the-field goal: graduate school for counseling psychology.”She’ll leave a huge hole,” Wright said. “She’ll have some shoes that are very large that we’ll have to fill, and we’ll miss her presence on the mound.”last_img