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Ms. Brittany "Britt" Bryant

Home:
3685 St. Andrews Drive
Beaumont, Texas 77707

Work:

Home Phone: 409-842-3334
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: Brit618@aol.com

Article in Feb. 16, 2005 Advertiser

Tight-knit family
Bryant enjoys time off the field with teammates

Bruce Brown
bbrown@theadvertiser.com

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun second baseman Brittany Bryant is off to a .464 start at the plate.

Brittany Bryant spends most of her waking hours playing second base for Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun softball team, or being around her teammates.

But she remains a big fan of those non-waking hours.

“I sleep a lot,” Bryant said before Monday’s practice. “They call me ‘Bear Bryant’ or ‘Polar Bear Bryant’ because I hibernate.

“I love it when we go on trips on a bus. It’s the greatest. I love being able to watch movies and hang out.”

Whether the Cajuns are on the road or at home, they’re often found together.

“Four of us have an apartment together,” Bryant said. “We go out to eat, or watch movies. Just have a girls’ night in. You never really see us away from each other.”

Numerous eating options are often considered, but the choice usually boils down to familar places.

“For some reason, we always wind up at Applebee’s or Chili’s, even on road trips,” said Bryant, who also addressed the selection process on movies to watch.

“Usually, it’s Joy,” Bryant said of senior catcher Joy Webre. “She always gets what she wants. She’s like the mother of the group. For some reason, we always go to her for advice.”

The Cajuns’ bond is predictable since they spend so much time together, and the chemistry is apparent on and off the field.

“You build friendships from softball,” Bryant said. “I love these girls.

“You see us out here on the field and you see how much we enjoy it. We love it so much. This is what we work for. When we go out there every day, that’s how it’s supposed to be. We’re out here for four hours (a day). Why not give it our all?

“We practice hard so the games will be fun.”

The Cajuns are having loads of fun this spring, with an 8-0 start that is the best of coach Stefni Lotief’s regime and a lofty No. 5 national ranking in the ESPN/USA Softball Poll.

“We made a dedication coming off last year that we were going to start this year like we finished,” said Bryant, a regular on that 60-8 squad that reached NCAA regional finals and came up one game short of a second straight berth in the Women’s College World Series.

“The freshmen coming in know from the get-go that that’s the situation. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’ve got a lot more to accomplish.”

It was hard to stomach the loss to Alabama in regional finals, after the Cajuns had overcome a No. 5 seeding, but it wasn’t long before players like Bryant got their focus back.

“Everybody needs rest, and needs to take a break,” Bryant said. “I took a little time off, but it wasn’t long before I went back at it again. I knew there was no way I could sit out three months and come back ready to perform.”

Obviously, Bryant didn’t take too much time off. She’s hitting .464 with a pair of home runs and 11 RBIs, and has hit safely in all eight games. Her first two career at-bats resulted in home runs, and still provides timely power.

“It’s funny,” she said. “I don’t even feel like I’m swinging when I hit a home run. But when I go up to the plate mad a hack at the first pitch, I pop up. When you just relax up there, miracles happen.”

As for the groove she’s in this year, Bryant said, “When I’m in a zone, I don’t see or hear anybody. The times I do struggle, that’s when I hear people in the stands, like my dad. That’s when I realize I need to concentrate.”

Bryant is part of a southeast Texas pipeline of talent for the UL program, a resource tapped early when Stefni Whitton (now Lotief) arrived in 1987 which also includes recent additions like Bryant, Holly Tankersley, Heather Bobbitt, Brooke Mitchell, Ashley Kirchberg, Heather Warren, Leslie Pierce and Kelsey Cammarata.

“The coaches sign good athletes that other people overlook,” Bryant said. “They don’t look for the stars, just well-rounded players who are willing to work hard.

“Being good is a matter of how much you’re willing to work.”

Softball wasn’t always what Bryant wanted to work on. UL fans can thank her younger brother Matthew for getting her started on the field.

“I didn’t start to play softball until I was 11 or 12,” Bryant said. “I was into cheerleading, dance, ballet. I was the girlie girl. But then I saw my brother playing T-ball and soccer, and said I want to do that. Thank God.”

Matthew is now an accomplished golfer at age 18, while his older sister is well on the way on her softball path.

“I looked up to (Olympians) Dot Richardson and Lisa Fernandez,” Bryant said. “But I looked up to my dad a lot. He’s just a motivator. He competes hard at everything he does. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

Rick and Jayne Bryant attend nearly every Cajun game, watching their daughter and those close-knit teammates aiming for the World Series.

“It’s an honor to play for this program,” Bryant said. “I take a lot of pride in our sport and in the university. It just brings a smile to my face. The coaches and my teammates are awesome, and it’s hard to lose when everybody’s rooting for you.”

Originally published February 16, 2005