Since 2011, Butler’s softball coach Brittany Braun has groomed many players who’ve come through her program. While many of them have contributed to Butler’s overall success in softball, there is one out of the bunch that stands out.
Senior pitcher and shortstop Annabelle Ramirez has made a lasting impact on the Butler program so much so that when she first met Coach Braun her freshman year, Braun attests that she instantly “fell in love with her personality.”
“One thing about her – she always has a good attitude,” says Braun. “No matter if she is having a good day or a bad day, she always has a good attitude. She is also very caring. That’s one of her best aspects. Younger kids look up to her because of that, and she is just willing to go above and beyond on the team and in the classroom.”
Ramirez has exemplified her care for others and the importance of leadership as Butler’s captain this season. For her though, she’s wanting to produce a new perception in this position. Throughout various experiences in which she encountered “bossy” leaders, she felt the need to rewrite the script. So when there’s the sound of an uplifting message, encouragement, inspirational quote or word for the day, it’s the voice of Ramirez that you will hear during pre-game regimens.
“I have looked up to all the captains the past four years, trying to find out the good and the bad of how to be a good leader,” Ramirez says. “I’ve worked to be more understanding and more relatable. I’ve learned how to be a relatable captain, one that is a good role model and one that those under me can look up to. So that’s really what I’ve been focused on my past four years.”
As she writes the final chapter of her high school career, out of all the things she will miss the most, she says without apology that it will be the people. She’s played alongside two other seniors on Butler’s roster in Faith Harris and Hailey Whitmer ever since her childhood days. And there’s been a host of others who she’s built relationships and memories with.
But there’s one relationship that will be near and dear to her heart for years to come. Coach Braun has been more than just a coach to her. During their four years together, and with Braun enjoying the opportunity of having Annabelle as one of her students in the classroom, their bond has deepened from just coach-player and teacher-student to that of friendship.
“I feel like she is the type of person I can come to with anything,” Ramirez affirms. “The other two seniors and I have been with her the past four years, and we come to her with all of our problems, with any and everything, and with any accomplishment. She’s more like a friend for us.”
But relationships are truly genuine when there’s reciprocity. Braun admits that by coaching Ramirez the past few years, it has raised her level of introspection. As she’s looked within, she says, “It taught me how to be more laid-back and more open-minded. Just how she cares for other people, and all of her volunteer hours, it has kind of made me second guess myself and realize that everyone is important – not that I haven’t felt that before – but she has just made me a more positive person. The first year I coached her, I yelled a lot more and now I try to be more positive because she has rubbed off on me, if that makes sense.”
Ramirez has signed with Lindsey Wilson to play softball at the collegiate level and looks to take these attributes with her along with her versatile play on the field. Off the field, she says she will be a good encourager for her future teammates. And as a versatile player on the field, she has the ability to play multiple positions and be anywhere a coach needs her to be. This bodes well for her success at the next level.
She’s made improvements in her skill set during her four years at Butler by learning to go the extra mile. Whenever there were struggles with her pitching and hitting, it simply meant staying after practice to do more hitting and to better craft her pitching arsenal. As a result, her mental toughness has elevated, ensuring that she strives to give her best every day. VT