By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– It’s the first-time in a long-time that 2015 North Marion-grad Brandi Bowling hasn’t played in a game or have to sit in a classroom setting.
Tuesday evening, helping her father and current Huskie Head Coach Russell Bowling run a softball session with the current crop of North Marion softball players coming up through the ranks. It still feels home to the former High School utility player and college catcher, even though she’s seeing the younger relatives of the girls she played with over five years ago.
“I would come back in college and be back in the hitting facility or on the field hitting and doing stuff. So, it’s not too weird,” said Bowling. “I think it’s definitely weird seeing other younger girls that I went to school with their older siblings or cousins that are coming up and pulling up. It’s all weird with that, but being here it’s always felt like home so I let it feel like home.”
Since graduating, where Bowling was an All-State Selection, she became an All-American with Southwestern Oregon Community College and played two-years at Eastern Oregon University. Seeing action in 71 games, recording 325 put-outs in two years at catcher with the Mountaineers on the heels of hitting 15 home runs for the Lakers of Coos Bay.
The transition can be a hard one for former players in Bowling’s boat, but her catcher background has made it more smoothly knowing some of the characteristics of both overlap each other. Whether it’s asking catchers during try-outs for the NM Magic 16U squad to do a block-move or helping a young Huskie batter with her batting stance, Bowling is slowly making the transition over to the coaching side of the game.
“Full Coaching yeah this Summer, this Fall would be the first time just because I’ve been in school and/or playing every other time. This is my first time not actually doing school, so this is weird for me. I would have started three days ago with school, it’s definitely different,” smiled Bowling. “I think the position I was in catching, I was already in a position having to delegate, help and trying to coach. So, I let it come off naturally to me.
“I think the only thing is that younger girls through High School and stuff like that, they’re going through mood swings so sometimes you have to be careful how you say things. So that’s something I’m learning too, but other than that, I feel like it’s a natural coming off being a catcher.”
With her dad being one of the people who have coached her growing up, if the elder Bowling needs the yougin to help out, they’re on the same page and know what to do.
“I think the one thing that is the best thing out of it is that he could sit there and say ‘there’s a hitch’ and I know what he is saying. ‘Hey there’s something’, I know what he is saying,” said the younger Bowling. “So, him being able to say a key word he’s told me my whole entire life, I can just move off and simplify it or situate it where he doesn’t need to stop pitching and come over and talk to them. I can just do it for him because we just say the same thing.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald