*Note- Due to the holiday last week, there will be 2 athletes of the week today.
CALYPSO – As a senior, a former state champion and North Duplin High School’s star pitcher, Haley Brogden is no stranger to performing amidst the pressures of bright lights, rivalry games and clutch situations.
Perhaps that’s why Brogden also embraces the opportunity to leave a positive impact on the watchful eyes and impressionable hearts of the second grade students at North Duplin Elementary. It’s there – in the balance between the rigors of high school softball, academics and influencing the next generation – that Brogden remains focused on what truly matters in life.
Brogden visits North Duplin Elementary multiple times a week.
“… I get to work with just a phenomenal group of kids,” she said. “I’ve helped them, but I think they’ve helped me more. I’m stressed out and I’ll go over there and they’ll calm me down. I’ll just learn so much from them like patience and everything like that.”
Brogden is this week’s Mt. Olive Pickles High School Athlete of the Week.
The Mt. Olive Pickles High School Athlete of the Week is a partnership between Curtis Media Group, Mt. Olive Pickles and Worrell Contracting to recognize local high school athletes who excel athletically, academically and through service to their community.
Each Friday morning through May 12, a local high school athlete will be recognized on the WGBR morning show as well as in a feature story on goldsborodailynews.com. The recognized athletes are chosen by the athletic department and administration from their respective high schools.
When Brogden isn’t busy leaving her mark on second graders, she’s making life miserable for opposing batters. Brogden’s ability to locate her pitches with precision and change speeds to keep hitters off-balance makes her a nightmare to face. She’s tallied 80 strikeouts with just seven walks in 43 innings pitched this season.
Brogden pitched a perfect game against Wallace-Rose Hill on April 11 in which she struck out 20 of the 21 batters she faced. She’s recorded double-digit strikeouts in five of her seven appearances this season.
“Location definitely played a part against Wallace-Rose Hill,” Brogden said. “If you can pinpoint location, that’s a big deal.”
Brogden was a sophomore when the Rebels captured a state championship in 2015. It was Brogden who rose to the occasion after North Duplin dropped the first game of the best-of-three state finals to Hiwasee Dam. She hurled a complete game and held Hiwasse Dam to one run on two hits in Game 2. Brogden also drove in what proved to be the game-winning run in the sixth inning, allowing the Rebels to force a decisive Game 3. North Duplin went on to claim the first state championship in program history.
“Haley’s played well and she came here as a sophomore,” Rebels’ head coach Ricky Edwards said. “We won the state championship her sophomore year here and Haley just shut Hiwasee Dam down in the second game. She’s pitched well her whole career and it hasn’t just started the last week or two.”
Brogden also plays volleyball and basketball at North Duplin and maintains a 3.8 grade-point average. She plans to attend Western Carolina University in the fall to play softball and study biology.
“The campus at Western Carolina is beautiful and the coaches are great,” Brogden said. “The atmosphere fits my personality. It’s kind of like North Duplin. It’s not too small, it’s not too big. The community is very involved and it just fits me.”