Rewriting softball history: Brittany Gomez stuns fans with skillful transition


Noah Cary/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore outfielder Brittany Gomez bats against South Dakota on April 22. 

Ben Paulus

It is perhaps difficult for coaches sometimes to gauge how well an incoming freshman will make the transition from high school to college softball. Sophomore center fielder Brittany Gomez has far exceeded expectations by those that have been able to be around her at Iowa State.

“You can have a good feel for personalities on people, but you never really know how they transition until they get here,” said ISU coach Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler. “But she has something that’s just intangible as to the way she approaches the game.”

Gomez joined the Cyclones in 2013 after playing for her high school in New Braunfels, Texas.

Coming out of Canyon High School, Gomez was already a decorated softball player. She was the recipient of a number of different team and individual awards throughout her career and as a freshman, she helped lead her school to a victory in the 2009 4A Texas State Championship game.

In 2012, she was named player of the year in Texas by a number of media outlets and finished First-Team All-State in Texas.

For Gomez, the decision to join the ISU softball team was an easy one. Despite the distance from Ames to New Braunfels, she said she had no problem making herself at home at Iowa State.

“I really liked the Iowa State campus and the community here in Ames,” Gomez said. “There isn’t a professional sports team in the area, so you know the community really enjoys coming to the college games.”

Much like during her high school career, the records and accolades have already started to pile up during her collegiate career. With seven games remaining in her sophomore season, Gomez has already rewritten school history for most career-stolen bases.

During her freshman campaign, Gomez set the single-season stolen base record, registering 31 steals on 33 attempts. The center fielder followed up her freshman year with 22 stolen bases on 27 attempts, tied for fourth in the Big 12.

Gomez, currently sitting at 53 career steals, broke the ISU school record of 48 — previously claimed by Adi Blackmon — in the Cyclones’ game March 23 against Northern Illinois.

“I actually didn’t realize I broke the record until somebody told me,” Gomez said. “But looking at that number, I hope to get at least that much through my next two years. 100 steals for my career would be awesome.”

At the current pace Gomez has set for stealing bases, it’s not hard to imagine her finishing up her ISU career north of 100 steals.

Along with her base-running abilities, Gomez’s production offensively from the lead-off spot has been equally useful for the Cyclones.

Gomez set another ISU single-season record last season in runs scored with 50. She also led the team in hitting with a .361 average and 66 total hits, which earned her All-Big 12 Second-Team honors.

Following that performance, Gomez remains on pace to set personal bests in batting average, on-base percentage and hits. With seven games remaining during the regular season, Gomez holds a .405 batting average, 66 total hits and an on-base percentage of .455.

It’s also the speed she possesses that makes her a threat during every at-bat.

“It’s important having her at the top of the order; she makes the defense scramble right from the get-go,” said ISU outfielder Sarah Hawryluk. “Even though she’s small, she’s intimidating. She can hit, slap and bunt, which gets the defense on their heels.”

For the second time in two seasons, Gomez has recorded more than 60 hits, making her the only ISU player to accomplish such a feat.

Already the center fielder has recorded four hits in a single game three times this season. Gomez also recorded a four-stolen base game against North Dakota back on March 8.

Gomez’s speed in center field is a vital component to Iowa State’s defense. Her range is capable of giving the ISU pitchers confidence in knowing if the ball is in play going out to center field, there is a good chance Gomez will chase it down.

“I’ve played next to her right from her freshman year,” Hawryluk said. “It’s been fun seeing her develop into a strong leader in the outfield.”

Despite this only being her sophomore season, Gomez has displayed an aptitude for leadership and taken it seriously.

“You don’t come across people like her very often,” Gemeinhardt-Cesler said. “She works hard on the field and in the classroom; she’s someone who shows up everyday.”

Gomez will continue to be a catalyst as the Cyclones, who are 22-25-1 overall and 2-10 in the Big 12, are still in search of finishing the season above .500.

With three games each against Big 12 opponents Texas Tech, Baylor and Kansas, the Cyclones will have their work cut out for them in order to finish with a winning record.

Gomez’s main goal remains winning ball games and helping her team any way possible.

“My goal is to get on base for my teammates to hit me in,” Gomez said. “We just want to win the games we’re capable of winning and keep improving.”