Former Beulah star Brandy Phillips finds her way and excels in her freshman season

Published 7:35 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Most college freshmen are finding their way and learning how to fit into a new environment. Former Beulah star softball player Brandy Phillips had to make those same adjustments, while also figuring out how to continue her dominance on the softball field. 

Phillips dominated the diamond during her senior year at Beulah, posting a .579 batting average with six home runs and 36 RBIs. Phillips committed to Wallace State and was expected to continue being a dominant force. Phillips quickly learned that the college game was a completely different animal than what she experienced in high school. 

“When I first got to Wallace and I first started practicing, I kind of noticed that it’s not like high school,” Phillips said. “Everyone was just as good as me. It was kind of like a competition, everybody was competing for a spot.” 

Email newsletter signup

Phillips struggled to find a role on Wallace’s team. Phillips did not earn a starting role in the fall, but things started to change as spring came into bloom. 

A coaching change and several players leaving the program changed things for Phillips. She saw an opportunity and earned the starting shortstop job heading into the spring season. 

“We had a new coach, it was our assistant coach,” Phillips said. “It kind of fueled a fire and made me want to do better because everyone counted us out because our players quit and our coach wasn’t there anymore.”
Phillips spent the entire break between the fall and spring softball season working on her craft and becoming a different hitter. Still, things continued to change for Phillips on the field. 

Injuries decimated the Lions, and the team needed Phillips to step up and play in the outfield. Phillips moved to left field and eventually found a home in center field. 

All of the positional moves were difficult for Phillips, but she had the encouragement of the new coaching staff. Things started to click for Phillips as she began to trust in her years of experience at the plate and in the field. 

“My coach was definitely very encouraging because she knew we had 15 players,” Phillips said. “It kind of just hit me. I’m playing JUCO softball, we have 15 players, nobody thinks we’re going to win. There’s no reason that I should be nervous when going up to bat…I needed to trust the skills that I already knew I had. Once I started to get that in my head, things started to click and I started to hit a lot better than I did at the beginning of the season.” 

Phillips found her way in the spring after struggling to start the season, finishing with a .326 batting average with four home runs, 27 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. 

Like all freshmen, Phillips also faced the challenge of meeting new faces and adjusting to a new area. Phillips came into Wallace State not knowing any of her future teammates. Her roommate, Mckinnon Howard, helped her feel at home and realize how similar her new home was to her home in Beulah. 

“All of us went in there not knowing each other,” Phillips said. “The sophomores knew each other, but I was paired with a sophomore and she helped me a lot…She welcomed me in and all of us just clicked… Campus-wise, I can compare it to Beulah. It’s a small town right outside of a bigger town. It reminded me of home a little bit.” 

Phillips and the Lions surpassed all expectations in 2023, winning the Alabama community college conference championship and advancing to the national tournament. Phillips got used to surpassing people’s expectations while at Beulah as the Bobcats became a perennial powerhouse during her time as a Bobcat. 

Phllips was dominant on the mound during her final season at Beulah, finishing with 21 wins and 221 strikeouts. Phillips was not asked to pitch at Wallace State and it felt like she lost something that had become a major part of her life. 

Phillips instead got to experience a plethora of positions in the outfield and the infield while also catching bullpens and almost having the opportunity to play at catcher. 

“It definitely has been weird for me not pitching because I pitched so much my senior year,” Phillips said. “I didn’t really like pitching at first, but once I pitched every day my senior year, I really started to enjoy. Coming here and not getting to pitch, I was kind of sad. I wasn’t that sad because I did get to experience playing multiple positions because of the adversity we faced.”

Phillips finished her freshman year as one of Wallace State’s best hitters, but she is still looking to spend her entire summer working on her craft. 

“I’m planning on practicing a lot this summer so that I can improve,” Phillips said. “I’m just really ready for the experience next year because it’s going to be a lot different. We’re going to have new coaches, completely different players. I’m just really excited to welcome the freshmen in and be an outlet for them because that’s what the sophomores did for me.” 

Being away from home was tough for Phillips because she accomplished so much and built a family at Beulah. Still, even while away from home, the Bobcats have continued to be a family for Phillips. 

“They have showed me a lot of support,” Phillips said. “After nationals when the Beulah Bobcats posted me, it made me a little bit sad. Some of them text me saying, ‘We’re so proud of you and we support you.’ It’s really heart-felt for me just knowing that I have the support that I have from my Beulah family.”