Photo by Diane Cox
After Alton senior Brittany Roady finished with the best season of her high school softball career this spring, Woodman Collision Center in Godfrey decided to put something on its billboard.
The billboard wrote, “Congratulations Brittany Roady, Softball Super Star.”
“She’s so special,” said Ginger Woodman, co-owner of Woodman Collision Center and Roady’s aunt. “She worked so hard through the years. She’s dedicated to what she’s doing.”
Roady, a pitcher, was a valuable player for the Redbirds this spring, going 22-7 with a 1.39 earned run average and 213 strikeouts and helping her team finish with a 25-8 record. She also earned first-team Southwestern Conference honors.
The accomplishments earned Roady this year’s AdVantage News Softball Player of the Year award.
Roady wasn’t surprised that her name was going to be on the billboard at Woodman Collision Center, which has been in business for 11 years.
“I kind of knew they were going to do it because they did it for my sister,” Roady said. “It was kind of really special. I’ve been getting people telling me, ‘Hey, did you know that you’re on the sign? Hey, you’re famous.’ I’m like, ‘I knew about that.’ It was really cool. It was a good opportunity.”
Roady’s four-year high school softball career came to an end on May 28, when the Redbirds lost 3-2 to O’Fallon in the Class 4A Collinsville Regional championship game. Roady celebrated her 18th birthday that day.
“I’m still bummed about it,” Roady said. “I wished we could have pulled off the win, but I’m moving on to summer ball now and I like that a lot, so I’m excited for the summer.”
This summer, Roady is playing for the Black Widows select softball team. She started playing for the Black Widows last year.
“They kind of came to me when they saw me pitch,” Roady said. “I played against their team from my other team and they asked about me and they just wanted me on their team. I knew they were a really good organization, so I went with them.”
Roady said playing with the Black Widows was a big help to her in her senior year at AHS.
“For high school ball, I saw improvements from last year to this year and I think it’s because of the Black Widows because they’re more competitive,” Roady said. “I’ve been playing harder teams and I’m pitching more.”
Roady’s senior year got off to a blazing start as she won her first eight games. In the Redbirds’ season opener against Quincy on March 21, Roady struck out 12 in the 9-7 victory. Roady struck out a season-high 17 batters against Hardin Calhoun on April 18. She struck out 10 batters or more six times.
“I just wanted to do better than I did last year,” Roady said. “I wanted to keep progressing. That was important to me. I didn’t care about wins or losses at the time because I knew we were going to take some losses and I knew we were going to have some really good wins. But I just wanted to make sure that I’m doing the best that I can for the team.”
Roady said she was thrilled that she finished with 22 wins, more than any other pitcher in the Southwestern Conference. A year ago, she had 16 victories.
“It was really exciting, especially at the beginning of the season when we were 8-0 and we were trying to keep that streak going,” Roady said. “That was really exciting to see how far we can go.”
Roady has been playing with the Alton softball program all four years. She never had a losing season in the circle.
“She’s gotten some pitching time for us little by little all four years,” Alton coach Dan Carter said. “In her sophomore year, she got thrown into the mix when our starting pitcher got hurt. Little by little, she just kept working a little bit more. The hard work for her paid off and it’s all coming together this year for her.”
Roady said the highlight of her high school softball career was getting to play with her older sister, Jordyn, in her freshman and sophomore seasons. Jordyn graduated from AHS in 2014.
“I’ve been doing whatever she did and always played in the sports that she did,” Roady said. “We both kind of stuck with softball and I always tried to chase her and try to do as well as she could. That’s how I started with her.”
Softball was the only sport Roady played at AHS. She started playing the sport when she was 6.
“I started liking softball since I was a baby because my grandpa was a baseball coach,” Roady said. “I started to like it because I watched him coach and I watched how much he loved it.”
Roady’s grandfather, Wayne Tyler, coached the Alton baseball team from 1963-1979 and is the winningest coach in program history with 281 victories. He coached the Redbirds to a second-place finish in 1972.
Roady said her father, Bryan, taught her how to play softball.
“He coached me when I was little,” she said. “He pushed me. I never really liked it until he made me try it and made me try to do the best I can.”
Next year, Roady will continue her long softball career at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. Her Alton teammate, Katelyn Presley, will join her.
“I’m really excited,” Roady said. “I’m nervous to see any differences between high school ball and college ball. I’ll see the harder competition, for sure, for college ball. I’m nervous for that, but I’m excited to see where it goes.”