Melbourne senior Natalie Brightwell, the Bearkatz softball team’s ace pitcher, signed her National Letter of Intent with Crowley’s Ridge on Wednesday at Melbourne High School.

Brightwell tormented opposing batters last season as a junior, with 168 strikeouts and two no-hitters in 137 innings according to MaxPreps.  She finished the 2021 spring season with a 2A state leading earned run average of 1.63.  Besides her cannon of a right arm, Brightwell hit 5 home-runs and drove in 29 runners during her junior season which was second in 2A posing a .360 batting average. 

Natalie will be the ace pitcher for the Lady Bearkatz during the upcoming season which is slated to begin on March 7, 2022.  The varsity team will be young this year and will look to the senior for leadership, which she can undoubtedly provide as an experienced player with multiple appearances in the regional and state softball tournaments throughout her high school career. 

Looking forward to the upcoming season, Brightwell remarked, “We have some returning players and several new ones coming up and I am looking forward to the season and seeing where we can go.”  Coach Tanner Hoskinds commented that Natalie was an 8th grader when he took over the softball program and he has watched her progress tremendously since then to become a great young lady and our ace pitcher.  Hoskinds also stated he is looking forward to the upcoming season.

Natalie is the daughter of David and Tamra Brightwell and has three siblings, Daylee, Dewey Lee, and her little sister Zori who is following in Natalie’s footsteps as a pitcher with one big difference she is a lefty!  Congratulations Nat!