Brooke Cadiente, The True Cougar Competitor
Senior Brooke Cadiente is the only remaining player from the original 2000 roster of the first season of BYU softball, making her the first four-year letter winner in the history of the program. Over the past three seasons, Cadiente has provided leadership and won several awards and is still doing so as this year's team captain.
In fact, she went a perfect 7-7 with a home run, two triples, two doubles, nine RBI, and six runs scored in the home opener against Utah State on March 14-15 at Gail Miller Park and is a key contributor to this year's team that is off to the fastest start in school history.
"I had a lot of fun out there playing in front of my parents," Cadiente said of her performance that garnered Mountain West Conference Player of the Week, the third of her prestigious career.
Her parents have always been an inspiration to her athletic career. "Ever since I can remember, I have been involved in sports whether it was basketball or powder-puff football."
Cadiente started playing fast-pitch competitively in the summer in 10th grade. She played only three years of competitive fast-pitch, which is a late start by ASA fast-pitch standards, but she comes from a baseball family and had a natural instinct for the game.
Recollecting her high school years of ASA softball Cadiente said," I counted six tan lines at one time from all the time spent on the field."
Her brother, Brett, played baseball for one year at San Diego State. After his mission he played at Arizona State and played on the AA and AAA minor league team of the Texas Rangers, who drafted him in the ninth round.
Her other brother, Garron, played college baseball at Scottsdale Community College. Her grandpa on her mother's side played college baseball and her uncle, Don Hannah, played for former BYU baseball coach Gary Pullins at Arizona State. (Pullins was pitching coach and Don was a pitcher)
Although several universities recruited Cadiente including Ricks (now BYU-Idaho), Utah State, Dartmouth, and Kentucky, she always wanted to come to BYU.
"We have some pictures of Brooke when she was five years old wearing Cougar apparel," her parents, Ron and Pam, said.
"I didn't want to play on Sundays and I also wanted to go out of state," Brooke said, a native of Mesa, Ariz. "I wanted to feel like I was on my own and independent, and playing out of state would help me establish that."
Her father noticed a clip in the Church News that BYU would be starting a softball team when Brooke was a senior in high school. The family made a videotape and sent it in to newly called head coach Mary Kay Amicone.
Amicone saw Cadiente's potential and offered her a scholarship to play for BYU. Cadiente was an immediate impact for the Cougars during their inaugural season, starting in 41 of 43 games as a freshman and led the team in home runs with four and was second in RBI with 18.
"That first year was crazy and insane," Cadiente said. "There was no field, no set schedule, and I was always running late for practice. I was exhausted from working out. The physical and emotional transition was tough."
That team finished next to last in the conference and made an early exit from the conference tournament. Things would turn around the next season as a late season run placed BYU in first place and they rolled on to win the conference tournament and advance to the NCAAs in only its second season as a program.
Cadiente was an integral part of the Cougar's success as she was named Mountain West Conference Tournament MVP for her performance and was also named First-team All-West region. Nationally, Cadiente finished in the top 30 in both home runs and RBI per game.
"Our seniors were huge for our team's success that season," Cadiente said. "Former catcher Angie Christianson inspired me to give it everything and just do it. I wanted to help her and the other seniors win a conference championship"
Last season saw early success for the Cougar squad as they knocked off four top-25 teams in non-conference play before the team ended the season in a disappointing fifth-place finish in conference play. Cadiente finished with a .304 batting average, 10 home runs, and 43 RBI.
"I remember one game against Nebraska (the team that ousted the Cougars from the NCAAs in 2001), and I was about to face my former ASA teammate Leigh Ann Walker," Cadiente said. "We had runners on first and second and the Huskers decided to walk Oli (Keohohou) and our team was trailing by four runs.
She continued," I remember Niki Andersen's grandma yelled 'Nebraska, you made a big mistake!' They replaced my friend and put in Peaches (James) and I hit the ball over centerfield for a grand slam that tied the game and we eventually won."
After last seasons conference collapse, assistant coach Gordon Eakin replaced Amicone and Cadiente recounts what she learned from both coaches.
"Mary Kay (Amicone) taught me that I need to decide how I would play besides what happened around me with teammates, school, and other distractions," she said. "Eakin has taught me to go out and have fun and enjoy the game. He tells us to do what we have practiced and we will be successful."
Cadiente is majoring in sociology and will graduate in April of 2004. She does not plan to play softball after graduation, but would maybe become a hitting instructor for youth in the future.
Cadiente is not very outspoken. She loves a lot of diverse things including the outdoors, camping, and being adventurous. She has even tried hang-gliding. She is an avid reader, artist, writer, and musician. She plays both the guitar and piano.
"I know I'll have fun after college," she said. "I want to travel and visit different countries, also."
Cadiente is the recipient of the Competitor Award this year from the Cougar Club and her parents and coaches think believe that 'competitor' is the best way to describe her both on and off the field.
"Brooke is quite a competitor, quietly dedicated to be the best player she can be." Her father, Ron, said. "She doesn't allow anything to go to her head. Pound for pound, she is as powerful as anybody around. She cares about the success of the team and the program. "
"Brooke is a real self-motivated athlete and I we are fortunate to have her example to our program for the last four years," head coach Gordon Eakin said on Cadiente's example. "I wish we could have her for another four years."
"She is real compassionate and forgiving and a great example. What you see is what you get," her mother, Pam, said. "She is proud to represent the university."
BYU softball will hold walk-on tryouts at Gail Miller Field on Friday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. MDT.