Molly Brumfield is hardly imposing at 5-foot-1.
However, the Centennial High School freshman's size has not prevented her from not only becoming a starter for the softball team but one of the top girls prep hockey players in central Ohio.
"A lot of people are surprised that I'm an athlete, especially a hockey player, because I'm smaller than most of the girls I compete with," Brumfield said. "Being short does have some disadvantages in the sports I play, but that just makes me try harder to find different ways to be successful."
Brumfield was the only freshman to make Centennial's varsity this spring. She starts at catcher when senior Mary Gardner is in left field and starts in left field when Gardner is behind the plate.
Through 11 games, Brumfield had a .500 batting average with a team-high .767 on-base percentage, a team-high 16 RBI, 16 runs, three triples and two doubles. She had a two-run, inside-the-park home run in a 16-5 win over Brook-haven in a City League-North Division game April 15.
"I couldn't ask for anything more from this kid," coach Malik Dean said. "She's one of our better hitters even though she's the only freshman we have in our lineup, and she's my best catcher. Molly doesn't have the strongest arm on our team, which is typical of a freshman, but she blocks balls really well and is a very good defensive catcher."
Brumfield believes that having grown up playing sports with her older brothers, Tyler and Jacob, and having played baseball for two years at Westgate Recreation Center have given her an edge when she competes against girls.
At age 8, she was one of three girls to join the Columbus Ice Hockey Club. Three years later, she began competing for a girls team in the Columbus Chiller Youth Hockey Association.
"I practiced and played sports with my brothers my whole life and that got me used to playing at a faster pace than a lot of the girls my age are used to," Brumfield said. "I was always throwing baseballs with both of my brothers. I got interested in playing hockey after I was dragged to Jacob's hockey practices, and Jacob gave me a lot of tips on how to be a better hockey player."
Brumfield plays hockey from September through April and does weight training and conditioning with her hockey teammates year-round. She recently completed her season with the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets U14 girls team.
The AAA Blue Jackets competed in tournaments in five states outside of Ohio during the season, including an event April 19 and 20 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Brumfield, who is a forward, had a hand in three of her team's four goals, as she registered one goal and two assists.
"I had to miss two days of school and four softball games to make the trip, but it was a lot of fun playing hockey in Canada," said Brumfield, who also plays volleyball in fall. "It's cool seeing how important hockey is there compared to here, where people are a lot more into football."
Brumfield said playing hockey has improved her hand-eye coordination, which in turn has made her a better softball player.
"I'm used to having pucks flying at me all the time and having to stop the puck and control it with my hockey stick," she said. "That's helped me time the ball when I hit or when I catch pitches behind the plate."
Brumfield plans to continue playing softball throughout high school, but she would like to play hockey in college.
"I want to try to go Division III for hockey or at least play for a club team in college because it's my favorite sport," Brumfield said. "I really like softball, too, and I played softball for a travel team in New Albany last summer, but I'm really shocked that I've been able to make varsity and start this year as a freshman. I'm having a lot of fun playing high school softball and I just want to keep hitting the way I've been hitting and keep improving as a catcher."
Baseball team looks to avenge loss to Braves
The baseball team will be looking to avenge a 16-3, five-inning loss to Whetstone on April 22 and keep its City-North title hopes alive when it travels to Whetstone on Wednesday, May 8. The Stars had only three hits and committed four errors in the first matchup with the Braves.
Centennial bounced back to win its other three league games last week, defeating Columbus East 42-1 on April 25 and sweeping Mifflin in a doubleheader the following day, 13-2 and 17-3.
Boys tennis team set to face West
The boys tennis team will play a key City League match Monday, May 6, at Columbus West.
Last season, the Stars lost to West 3-2 and the Cowboys went on to defeat Whetstone 3-2 in the City League championship match.
Centennial went 1-1 in league play last week, losing to Whetstone 3-2 on April 22 before beating Beechcroft 3-2 on April 25.
Winning matches against the Cougars were Ben Oatney at first singles, Ben Bendolph and Weston Clarke at first doubles and Martin Yzeiri and Slobodan Zecevic at second doubles. Oatney (first singles) and Bendolph and Clarke (first doubles) posted wins against the Braves.
Centennial had lost to Beechcroft 3-2 last season.