During her first two seasons as an ultra-speedy varsity outfielder for the Sandwich Lady Indians softball squad, Brianna Avery certainly made a big impression as one of the finest talents in the area.
She also made some major colleges take notice – first and foremost Butler University and veteran head coach Scott Hall.
Avery – daughter of Bridget Kreiter and Derek Avery – recently signed to continue her softball and academic career at Butler located in Indianapolis, Indiana once she concludes her senior year at SHS next spring.
The Bulldogs are an NCAA Division I member and participate within the very well respected Big East Conference which boasts eight teams in the sport of softball.
Avery had verbally committed to Butler after the summer of 2016 but made it official a few weeks ago.
"Butler was one of the first schools that looked at me and when I went and visited it just felt like home there," Avery said. "I love the personality of coach Hall and I just feel like it will be a very good experience both athletically and academically for me. When I first sat down I knew I had two years left in high school so I wondered whether Butler was where I really wanted to go? But everything just felt so right and I verbally committed to playing there before my junior year at Sandwich and here we are now."
Avery wants to study biology at BU with an end goal of becoming an anesthesiologist.
But before that future progression she'll play for Hall, who will be entering his eighth season as bench boss for the Bulldogs in 2018.
Hall most recently led BU to a 23-29 overall record in 2017 as well as an 11-9 mark within the Big East. Perhaps his finest hour came just two season ago in 2016 when he led the Bulldogs to a Big East Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA Division I playoffs before bowing out to perennial powers Kentucky and Illinois. He's very excited to have Avery as part of his current recruiting class.
"I first saw Brianna in Indianapolis for a pre-tournament showcase type of thing and I was very impressed," Hall said. "I saw this lightning bolt come flying by with incredible speed on the base paths and I thought 'who the heck is that'? I sat on things that weekend and watched her play almost every game in the tournament. Then I kept after her for the next month and a half until she wouldn't say no. She has game-changing speed which doesn't take a day off. I believe that will create havoc for our opponents. I envision her certainly as an outfielder for us moving forward. She'll have to work her way into the lineup for sure. But I believe she will be a key difference maker for years to come in our program."
Avery still has her senior softball season in front of her at Sandwich starting next March. After becoming a varsity starter in her sophomore campaign, Avery has since put together two fine years where she's averaged .394 batting, 30 hits, 23 runs, and 22 stolen bases per campaign. She's also been a unanimous Interstate Eight All-Conference pick in both years while also becoming a Times First Team softball selection during each season.
"This is definitely exciting for Bri especially knowing the kind of worker and player that she is," said SHS softball coach Mattie McGuire. "She certainly deserves to be at a DI school like Butler that's for sure. She has set the bar high for all the other girls in our program as a complete player at the plate and playing centerfield for us. I can't wait to see what she'll accomplish next spring for us as a senior before she graduates and goes to Butler."
Avery concurs with her current coach's thoughts before her final run on the prep diamond.
"I'd like to try to break the school record for stolen bases and I'm going to go lights-out this year," Avery said. "I believe we can do big things as a team this year if we work hard. There's a lot yet to accomplish before I go to college."