Softball slugger looks to power Loyola offense

Brie Pasquale is one of the leading home run hitters on the Ramblers. Photo by Steve Woltmann

As she begins her third season with Loyola’s women’s softball team, junior infielder Brie Pasquale is ready to reach a whole new level of success, both on and off the field.

After beginning her Rambler career as a record-breaking freshman, Pasquale has remained a dominant force on the diamond while also bringing a positive attitude to the Ramblers.

Teammate Hannah Jenkins played infield alongside Pasquale during the last two seasons before moving to outfield, and said Pasquale always supports her teammates.

“If she or someone else made a mistake, she’d be the first one to tell you, ‘All right, hey, let’s get this next one,’ or, ‘All right, I got you on the next one,’” said Jenkins. “I think that’s a pretty great trait to have, being the first one to come up and talk to you and make sure we’re good to go for the next play.”

Her freshman year, Pasquale broke the Loyola record for most single-season home runs for a freshman, finishing with nine. But the home runs didn’t stop there. Her sophomore season she smashed five more.

However, there was one thing missing whenever she rounded the bases.

Jeff Tylka took over the women’s softball team after being an assistant in 2013-14.
Jeff Tylka took over the women’s softball team after being an assistant in 2013-14.

Head Coach Jeff Tylka, who spent the previous three years at the assistant level in charge of hitting, said whenever Pasquale hit a home run she would always want him to help her celebrate. However, he wouldn’t agree to until she did one thing, though.

“I told her I would never do it until she hit a walk off,” said Tylka.

In the season opener against Butler on Feb. 6, that’s exactly what she did.

“When she was coming around second base she made eye contact with me and I knew exactly what she wanted,” Tylka said. “So when she rounded third base we both jumped up in the air and bumped into each other’s shoulders. She was pretty excited about it.”

But for Pasquale, there’s more to the game than racking up homers. She’s become a role model for the team, and has been able to carry that over to many other aspects of her life.

“I’m an elementary education major, so [being a leader] has helped me so much just being up in front of the classroom to teach,” said Pasquale. “Being on a team with 17 or 18 other girls, I’m more open-minded now about everything. I’ve come to accept everyone and everything for who they are and what they bring to the table.”

That receptiveness has been noticed on the diamond by both coaches and teammates. Last season, Pasquale started at first base before transitioning to shortstop. This year her new challenge is to become leadoff hitter. But with every new position, Pasquale is ready to step up to the plate.

“I’m always willing to go anywhere they put me. I came in freshman year as a utility player, so when they say you go here, I say, ‘Yes sir!’” Pasquale said.

Tylka realizes the importance of this flexibility. He said sometimes what’s best for the team isn’t always best for one individual player, and Pasquale is always willing to put the team’s needs first.

“You can’t really ask for much more from your players but to have trust in you and what you’re asking them to do,” Tylka said. “The fact that she’s willing to do anything that we ask to help us get a win says a lot about her.”

The Ramblers made it to the Missouri Valley Conference championship last year.
The Ramblers made it to the Missouri Valley Conference championship last year.

With some new additions and adjustments to the coaching staff and an incoming freshman class, the Ramblers are working on coming together as a team and developing some consistency in their game.

Loyola finished 2-2 at the Total Control Sports Invitational season opener, beating both Butler and University of North Dakota. Pasquale said when everything comes together, they can be unstoppable.

“We’re going to go back to the MVC Tournament, we’re going to win it, and we’re going to go to regionals,” Pasquale said with confidence.

Pasquale and the rest of the team have high hopes for the 2015 season. If they focus on the games ahead, they’ll hit their goals right out of the park.

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