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College Softball: Sandburg alum Brooke Spencer rediscovers hitting prowess at Aurora University

Brooke Spencer has been hitting tear this seasfor AurorUniversity. | Supplied photo

Brooke Spencer has been on a hitting tear this season for Aurora University. | Supplied photo

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Updated: May 29, 2013 7:47AM



Pressure can be the Cadillac of motivators.

It can also choke the breath right out of you.

Two years ago as a sophomore at Aurora University, Brooke Spencer had a season any softball player would die for. She terrorized NCAA Division III pitching by hitting .480 with 14 home runs and a staggering 49 RBI.

She was primed for a gigantic junior year. It never happened.

Spencer, a Sandburg graduate, stumbled out of the gate and limped home with a .231 batting average with 18 RBI.

“I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to do as well, if not better, as the year before,” Spencer said before going 3-for-7 Wednesday in a doubleheader sweep of the University of Chicago.

Last year is just a memory. Spencer once again has put pressure on the pitchers.

Entering the weekend she had a .468 batting average (44-for-94) with 33 RBI and 27 runs. While she has hit just four homers, she has cracked 12 doubles.

So what was the magic formula to take her out of the slump?

“I don’t know. I had everything to prove and nothing to lose,” Spencer said. “I had to come back to just having fun and getting back to basics, like I did my sophomore year. It’s working out all right for me so far.”

One of the things that’s helped Spencer is the knowledge that she doesn’t have to carry the Spartans by herself. Aurora, at 29-3 and author of a 21-game winning streak, has a .374 team batting average.

Spencer’s teammates, especially fellow seniors Tristan Wilcox, Stephanie Lynch, Mia Henderson and Sarah Blowers, have been her pillars of strength.

“My teammates are always supportive of me. They’re always there for me whether I have a good game or a bad game,” Spencer said. “Really, I just want to do better for them. One of my goals this year was to do better and just have fun. It’s my last year, and having fun with my girls is all that really matters.”

Besides once again being a terror with the bat, Spencer is an outstanding shortstop. She’s made just four errors all year and has a .964 fielding percentage.

“I’m a firm believer that if you have a bad at bat you pick yourself up in the field, and the same is true if you make an error, you pick yourself up with the bat,” Spencer said. “Errors are going to happen. I just try to balance them both.”

That she plays the demanding shortstop position in itself is a bit of a fluke. Spencer started her career at Aurora as a second baseman and stayed there until coach Mike McKenzie moved her to shortstop at midseason of Spencer’s sophomore year.

“That’s when my bat got better so he kept me there,” Spencer said. “I’m comfortable there, and my teammates are comfortable with me there.”

That’s a comfort opposing pitchers can’t have when Spencer has a bat in her hands.



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