By Chelsea Underwood |Staff Writer|
Shortstop Britney Butler shattered the softball school record for the most home runs in a single season, blasting 15 this year. Motivated throughout the season from the unfortunate death of her father, Butler has been playing with a big heart.
Butler already tied the home run record her freshman year with 14, but now she is in sole possession of the number one spot. She hit her record breaking home run in the last game of the regular season against the Dominguez Hills Toros in the third inning.
“It was a really good feeling,” said Butler, “I sprinted around the bases because I was so excited.” Teammates cheered her on while she ran the bases, but they are not the only ones who did so.
Family has been a strong support system for Butler through the thick and thin of her softball career and more importantly, in life. “My dad was very supportive of me. He would always try to come out to every game that he could. My mom still, she comes out to every home game. So I have a very very, very good support system. It helps a lot,” said Butler.
She grew up in an athletic family and with an older brother who helped her get better and stronger with her ball game. She picked up baseball from her brother when she was younger, and according to Butler, wanted to be everything that he wanted to be.
“He basically taught me everything that I know,” said Butler. Her softball career kicked off when she was a freshman at Poly High School in Riverside.
It was not easy to start, as she had to transition from baseball to softball. Her brother helped her out tremendously with this change. She worked hard throughout her high school career and continued to grow in her game.
Butler worked extremely hard on the field, and her efforts definitely paid off. During her senior year at Poly High, she was offered a scholarship by the Coyotes and gladly accepted it.
Besides owning the school’s single-season record for most home runs, there are so many other things that she has accomplished on the diamond during her first three years at CSUSB.
This season she improved with the bat, hitting an exceptional .362, compared to last year’s still impressive .315. In addition, she received All-CCAA honors for the third straight year.
What pushes this young athlete to do so well is her dad. In 2009, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. After a tough two-year fight, he lost the battle on Sept. 2, 2011.
He was a big supporter of his daughter, and he himself grew up as an athlete playing football. She was ready to stop playing softball after he died. However, her mother was not ready to see her quit the game she has grown to love.
She told her that her father would have wanted her to play and to finish school, and so Butler decided to play for him. “My goal was to play for him this year and do the best that I could, like he wanted,” said Butler.
Not only did she play for her dad, but she is planning on following in his professional footsteps as well. Butler is majoring in criminal justice. Her dad has influenced her due to the fact that he used to be an officer for the Riverside Police Department.
She is looking to use her major to become a corrections officer. With her dad in mind, she remembered a quote he always said:
“Just do the best you can, you don’t need to push, you don’t need to press. You just got to do the best you can and no matter what, at the end of the day, if you lose, you play a horrible game, [I’m] still going to be your number one fan no matter what.”