Aug. 15, 2011
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Incoming junior Bradi Wall may be the least experienced player on the University of Iowa softball team when she arrives on campus this week, but that is a little deceiving.
Wall has been playing the sport for just two years, both as a member of the softball program at Iowa Western Community College. Before joining the Reivers, however, Wall made a name for herself on a different diamond — a baseball diamond.
“There was no softball for girls and no baseball for girls (when I was growing up),” said Wall, who hails from Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada. “I grew up playing on boys’ baseball teams my whole life against the guys — having to earn my spot that way.”
It wasn’t until she was wrapping up her high school career that she started kicking around the idea of playing softball. Luckily her baseball coach knew IWCC head softball coach Lana Ross and convinced her to take a look at his “baseball girl”.
“It was mainly when I was thinking about what I could do for universities,” said Wall. “I am a very late bloomer when it comes to softball — I started playing a couple of years ago.”
Based on her two-year career at IWCC you wouldn’t know it. Last season — the second of her softball career — Wall thrived. She earned NFCA first team All-America, NJCAA second team All-America and Louisville Slugger first team All-Region honors after leading her team to conference, regional and district titles, while also qualifying for the NJCAA national tournament.
She finished the year with a .458 batting average in 59 games with 32 doubles — an IWCC record — 10 home runs and a triple. She also drove in 72 runs, scored 69 times and was 15-of-17 on the base paths. The Reivers won 90 games in her two seasons. Not bad for a softball “newbie”.
“I showed up there (at Iowa), and I could see the passion in their (the UI coaching staff) eyes in how much they loved the sport. I am excited for the high level of intensity and competition.”
Junior Bradi Wall
“Making the adjustment from baseball to softball was tough,” said Wall. “The pitcher is closer, so you have to have quicker hands. The ball is coming at a quicker speed and on the up-tick. In baseball, it’s all coming down. That’s something you have to get used to, but once you make that adjustment, it seems a lot easier.”
After closing out her career in Council Bluffs, Wall returned home to Canada for the summer, where she tried out and was selected as a member of the Canadian Women’s National Baseball Team. It was her second time playing for Team Canada.
Wall competed for the Canadian Team at the Women’s International Friendship Series in Cary, N.C., on Aug. 2-7. She helped her squad post a 4-2 record over a pair of USA teams, batting .308 with six RBI, four runs scored and a stolen base. She played in the field at shortstop and third base.
“It was a great experience — I loved it,” said Wall. “Growing up, it was always my dream to make the national team, so it was great to actually make the team and play for them.
“You learn so much playing in that high level of competition. There is always so much more to learn and so much more to build on. You can get better every time you’re out on a field, every time you play.”
Wall also saw the opportunity as a way for her to be around the game and to keep her skills sharp heading into her first season with the Hawkeyes.
“Playing baseball allows me to still get the swings in and the technical aspects of throwing the ball,” she said. “Playing at the high level allows me to still be in the swing of things. It allows me to play ball competitively in the summer, so that I will be ready to go in the fall.”
When Wall came on her visit to the UI softball program, she knew it was the place for her. Now she’s anxious to start the next chapter in her softball career and to soak up as much knowledge as possible.
“I showed up there (at Iowa), and I could see the passion in their (the UI coaching staff) eyes in how much they loved the sport,” said Wall. “I am excited for the high level of intensity and competition.”