Softball pitcher serves as “strong” leader

Junior Brittany Ledbetter pitches against Lee University in a game March 4. “A lot of our players look to Brittany as a leader, and she is great at helping our pitching staff when they need it,” said head softball coach Ashley Cozart.

Wallace State transfer Brittany Ledbetter began her pitching career on the North Alabama softball team with a 3-1 record.

The junior transferred to UNA after helping Wallace State win two ACCC State Championships.

“Brittany is a great athlete,” said head softball coach Ashely Cozart. “At her junior college, she hit and pitched. With us, she just pitches, but she is a very good athlete.”

Ledbetter is from Vance and graduated from Tuscaloosa Academy. Her journey with softball began when she was six-years-old. Her older sister, Lindsey Watkins, played softball and pitched, as well.

“Of course watching (my sister) play made me want to play and try to be better than her at everything,” Ledbetter said. “We always had a healthy competition between each other.”

Cozart said Ledbetter’s strongest quality is her spin on the ball and ability to mix speeds.

“What stands out about Britt is her mentality and how mature she is,” Cozart said. “She has a lot of confidence and is very mature and a leader for our team. She’s always going to battle on the mound for us.”

Ledbetter said UNA was a good fit for her after playing at Wallace State.

“On my visit here, I really enjoyed being around the coaches, and the campus was beautiful,” Ledbetter said. “And Florence is a small town, and that’s something that I really enjoy because I’m from a small town as well.”

Ledbetter is now a business major, and she said she hopes to one day own her own hair salon and possibly become a real-estate agent.

Ledbetter said her journey with softball has not been easy. Her childhood home burned down during her sophomore year at Wallace. In late October, Ledbetter had to undergo a second knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Then, her father died after battling cancer for almost eight years Nov. 10, 2017.

“My dad was always my biggest fan,” Ledbetter said. “I’d say the hardest thing now is not having him to hug after each game.”

Ledbetter said she knows her father is still watching over her and cheering her on while she plays softball.

“A lot of our players look to Brittany as a leader, and she is great at helping our pitching staff when they need it,” Cozart said. “She has been through a lot the last year as she lost her dad to cancer. So, she is playing these last two years for him and I know he will be so proud of her, as am I.”

During her freshman year at Wallace State, Ledbetter got a tattoo on her left wrist of her dad’s handwriting saying, “I Love You.”

“I got it on my left wrist so every time I look down at my glove or pitching sign, I can see it,” Ledbetter said. “He was always the one to push me to do my best at everything that I did. So now I play for him every single day.”

Ledbetter said she credits softball with helping her through the difficult times and keeping her going.

“Softball has always been like my saving grace,” Ledbetter said. “I could have had the worst day, but as soon as I step on the field, it’s like all of my problems just go away, which, I am more than grateful for.”