home sitesearch contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

The Ragin' Cajuns softball team will honor their three seniors - Brooke Brodhead, Vanessa Soto and Holly Tankersley - on Sunday afternoon before their final home game at Lamson Park against ULM.
Blog: Courtney Trahan on the 2008 Seniors
The Ragin’ Cajuns softball team will honor their three seniors – Brooke Brodhead, Vanessa Soto and Holly Tankersley – on Sunday afternoon before their final home game at Lamson Park against ULM.
Softball  05/01/2008   Courtesy RaginCajuns.com

By: Courtney Trahan


Since our last home games of the season are rapidly approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to take this time to touch on each of our three seniors.  Though each very different and unique in their own way, all three find a way to bring qualities to our team that make us stronger as a unit.  Their leadership is what inspires us both on and off the field, and I think I speak for everyone when I say they will be missed more than they know.


First, I will touch on our eldest senior, Holly Tankersley.  She wears number 23, plays right field, and leads the world in most bombs hit out of the atmosphere in a lifetime…she’s at 346 (I think).  The team refers to her as our senior citizen, because she has been on this team now for 13 years (not really) due to injuries and such.  She is definitely the most experienced player on our roster, and with experience comes knowledge of the game.  Holly has a tremendous reflex for the game and has a great way of leading the rest of us to do the same.  She plays the game with such ease and effortlessness.  I have never seen anyone else with so much raw talent for anything.  She is truly one of the very best, if not the best, softball player I have ever been around.  Yet she still is willing to help anyone that asks.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have asked her to help me with my swing and she does so without the slightest hesitation.  It is so amazing for me to call her a teammate, because I know her name will be remembered for years and years.  It is so special for me to be able to tell my children that I knew her, that I played alongside her.  Though she may seem tough and intimidating on the exterior, she is much worse in person. Ha Ha Ha…That’s what one would presume, but she is a big softy.  Holly always takes the time to help comfort the freshmen and makes sure they are adjusted to the team and the pace of college.  I am sure she does not realize it, but she is the set of footprints that the younger players strive to follow.  She is an amazing softball player and will be remembered by Cajun fans for many years to come for her many accomplishments in the game.  But as a teammate, she will be remembered and missed for much more than that.  When I walked onto this team last year, I was terrified and intimidated by everyone.  Holly was one of the first people that approached me and made me feel like a part of the team, and I have seen her do the same to many new players as well.  She goes out of her way to make sure each and every last player knows they belong.  It has been an honor and a privilege to stand beside her in red and white.   She helped to lead and mold this team into what it has become, and for that she will forever be a true Ragin’ Cajun.


Next on our list of seniors is Brooke Brodhead.  A transfer from McNeese State, Brooke wears number 3 and holds down the fort at short-stop.  To be completely honest, when I first heard the news that we were getting a new transfer from McNeese to play short-stop for us, I was excited and anxious.  I was unsure if the new player would change the team chemistry that had been built the previous season.  I thought this girl would walk into the strong-nit family that our team had become and try to run the show just because she would have seniority.  I have never been more wrong about anything in my life.  Adding Brooke to our roster was easily one of the top three decisions our coaching staff has ever made…along with their decision to add doors to our batting cages and their decision to sign that super-fast pinch- runner they presently use.  Her name escapes my mind at the moment (starts with C and ends with Y).  Since Brooke’s first day with the team, we all fell in love with her.  She was like the missing link that we didn’t even know wasn’t there.  She took her position at short-stop and fit into our mix better than anyone could have imagined.  I cannot even believe she has not been with us for her previous three years of collegiate play.  Brooke is one of the most unselfish players I have ever had the pleasure of being around, much less calling her my teammate.  Whether she is batting leadoff, 4th hole, or 6th hole, Brooke does what’s best for the team.  She puts complete trust into what the coaches decide and that inspires the rest of us to do the same.  I can imagine it was a very hard thing for Brooke to come into a completely new environment her senior year and hope to be able to blend in with the routines of the team, but she did it with ease.  She has earned the love of the fans, the appreciation of the coaches, and the respect of her teammates.  Brooke’s heart and determination in the game of softball are inspirational.  Many would pay to have the guts that this girl has when it comes to representing our team.  We all have 100% confidence behind her, because she has more than proven to us that we are her team and this is her home.  She is a Cajun through and through, and it’s as if it has been that way for years.  There is not doubt in my mind that without Brooke Brodhead, our team would not be where it is now.  She is such a big part of the pulse of this team and I personally thank her for giving us a chance to be her teammates, and more importantly her sisters, for her senior year.  


The last senior on our roster is our second baseman, Vanessa Soto.   Vanessa sports the number 7 and is also a transfer.  Now if you understood how nervous I was to sign Brooke into our program, you can only begin to imagine how scared I was to sign this girl.  Vanessa played her first three years of eligibility at LSU, our in-state rivals.  I was not trying to be a negative person, because anyone who knows me knows that I tend to look at the glass half full.  I am sure that Vanessa was just a scared as we were to have such a big change in our roster, but after one day together, the entire team realized how important she would be to this organization.  Vanessa, originally from California, was definitely destined to be a Cajun.  Not only is she an amazing second-baseman and a phenomenal team hitter, she is without a doubt one of the smartest softball players I have ever been blessed with the chance to play alongside.  She knows the game as if she studied it all through college and received her masters for it.  She has an amazing instinct and a wonderful knowledge of anticipating what the other team will do next, which is a very rare talent to have in this game.  Vanessa has many great abilities in the game of softball, in which I would sell an organ for if that’s what it took, but I think Vanessa’s biggest attribute to the game and to the team is her mind. It is unlike any other I have ever witnessed.  She is the most confident and determined individual I have ever come in contact with.  She believes in herself, her coaches, and her teammates more than one could think possible.   She plays with so much heart and the biggest part of her soul that she can reach, yet does it all with such ease.  She has a way of trusting her preparation, which enables the rest of us to trust as well.  She is such an unselfish and humble teammate.  Never once do I hear her take credit for anything she has accomplished.  It is always about her coaches and her teammates, and that’s what makes a great leader.  Vanessa has truly become the heartbeat of this team.  Without her, we would not survive in the least bit.  She is the glue that holds us together and she makes sure each of us are doing our jobs at all times.  She holds us all accountable, no matter how secure she feels about herself.  Since I have known her, I have only grown to appreciate more and more her company as a teammate and as a friend.  She has become an inspiration to me both on and off the field and is now one of the best people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  I have more respect for this girl than almost anyone I’ve ever met, and I know I am not alone in this statement.  


Keep in mind that these few words on our three seniors come no where near to doing justice to what they have done and continue to do for our team.  A group of girls could not lead this team better if they had an instruction manual.  Our seniors are great role models for all of us whether it is on the softball field or in everyday life.  They will truly be missed and remembered forever as our big sisters.  I am blessed to have had the opportunity to be in their presence as much as I have, and I could never thank them enough for all they do for me and the rest of the Cajun roster.  I love each of them more than life itself.  Next years’ seniors and seniors’ to come after have some big shoes to fill, because Holly Tankersley, Brooke Brodhead, and Vanessa Soto are rare and will always be cherished by the fans of the program, by the coaches of this team, and by the members of Cajun softball forever.


We do, however, have some promising leadership for next season.  Click here to preview next year’s seniority in the making.