Sports Person of the Week
Clancy Enjoys Life on the Softball Diamond
Senior Brooke Clancy has a great love for softball and gives it her all for East Haven in each practice and every game. (Photo courtesy of Brooke Clancy )
Brooke Clancy participated in gymnastics and dance as a youngster, but wanted to find a sport that suited her a little better. Brooke signed up to play tee-ball at The Pit when she was six and, from there, the sport of softball became a major part of her life. Now a senior at East Haven High School, Brooke has become a key contributor for the Yellowjackets’ softball squad.
“It was something different from dance or gymnastics. I felt more involved with the sport than I was with gymnastics,” Brooke says of softball “I liked it a lot more. I felt like I was doing a lot more. I was more active.”
Brooke played at The Pit before transitioning into East Haven’s Little League system at age 10. The following year, she started playing travel softball. Brooke played for multiple teams on the travel circuit, including the Connecticut Raiders, Quinnipiac Tornadoes, Connecticut Eliminators, and TNT Connecticut. As she competed in various leagues, Brooke developed a true love for softball and began to embrace the competition.
During her 8th-grade year, Brooke played for a travel team called the Connecticut Falcons. The team was coached by Ed Crisafi, who is also the head coach of the softball squad at East Haven High School. Brooke says that it was bit stressful to be coached by the Easties’ skipper before she even played a high school game. However, as the season unfolded, Brooke formed a connection with Crisafi that made her transition to the high school team that much easier.
Coach Crisafi saw Brooke’s talent on the softball field at an early age and put her into East Haven’s starting lineup as a freshman. As Brooke enters her senior year, Crisafi says that she’s become a force in the Yellowjackets’ batting order.
“Brooke is one of the young girls that me and [assistant coach Jeff Crisafi] coached back in middle school, so we know what we had coming up in her. When she connects, she hits the ball hard. She will probably move up to fourth or fifth in the lineup as a senior,” Ed Crisafi says. “Brooke goes to all fields. She isn’t just a pull hitter. She has had two nice years. She would have been a four-year starter. We are looking for big things from her this year.”
Brooke broke into East Haven’s starting lineup midway through her freshman campaign. She played right field for the Yellowjackets and posted a .300 batting average to go with two home runs, 13 runs scored, and 10 RBI on the year.
In her sophomore season, Brooke became the Easties’ full-time starter at first base, which was her primary position in travel softball. Brooke batted .300 once again that year and also hit three doubles, clubbed four homers, scored 10 runs, and had 24 RBI. Brooke started taking hitting lessons at The DiamondZone in North Haven that year, giving her a big boost of confidence at the plate.
Brooke and the Yellowjackets made a run to the championship game of the Class L State Tournament during her sophomore year—an experience that she calls her fondest memory of playing softball in East Haven thus far. When the Easties notched an 11-0 victory against Brookfield in the state semifinals, Brooke was one of three players on the team to hit a home run.
“All of those games and definitely the championship game, they’re definitely going to be remembered,” Brooke says. “It was really exciting [hitting a homer versus Brookfield], especially because other players were all hitting home runs. It helped keep the momentum going, hitting-wise, that game.
Aside from excelling on the diamond, Brooke is also a member of the East Haven girls’ volleyball team who plays the hitter position for the Yellowjackets. While there are big differences between the two sports, Brooke says that playing both softball and volleyball has helped her become a better communicator and a bigger leader as she’s learned how to work with her teammates.
Brooke now feels that communicating effectively is one of her best skills on the softball field. She tries to talk to her teammates on every play and pick them up when they’re down. Brooke is looking forward to leading both of her squads during her senior year.
“I’ve always wanted to be a leader. I’ve always worked hard to stand out,” says Brooke. “I want to make the underclassmen feel welcome. My freshman year, I felt welcomed, because I already played travel with half the girls.”
After first stepping on the softball field as a six year-old, Brooke has found a passion for a sport that she keeps coming back to. As she gears up for her final year of high school, Brooke feels proud that she’s put in the necessary work to call herself a varsity softball player in East Haven.
“It has definitely made me more hardworking. I give my 110 percent every practice, every game. That attitude has carried over into other things, as well,” Brooke says. “My entire life has been about softball. It’s a part of who I am now. I’m a softball player.”