OSKALOOSA — This week’s featured softball player is Oskaloosa sophomore Abigail Lauren Braundmeier. Braundmeier is the daughter of the late Kyle and Jenny Braundmeier. Braundmeier is also known as Abby around her friends.
Braundmeier’s primary position on the softball team is designated player. Braundmeier is also in the pitching rotation.
Braundmeier was born in Oskaloosa on Nov. 11, 2002, and has lived in Oskaloosa her whole life.
Braundmeier started softball at a young age, as she was first introduced into the sport by playing t-ball. Braundmeier didn’t always have a strong passion for softball though.
“I played t-ball, but then I quit,” Braundmeier said. “I quit because I wanted to be a professional gymnast. I told my mom that I didn’t want to go out for softball because I was going to do cartwheels on the field… she still made me do it though.”
Although Braundmeier wanted to be like Shawn Johnson, she has another athlete that she looks up to.
“Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals is one of my favorite athletes,” Braundmeier said. “He’s so cute and really fast.”
While Braundmeier had to put her dream of being a gymnast on hold, she stuck with softball and continued her career by playing minors and traveling softball.
One of Braundmeier’s most standout – and slightly scary – moment came during a minor's game played out at Lacey Complex.
“In minors, I pitched the ball over the fence at Lacey and hit a fan in the head and might have given her a concussion,” Braundmeier said. “I threw really fast, but I was so bad at aiming my pitches.”
Since joining the high school softball team, Braundmeier thankfully hasn’t caused any more injuries to fans but has instead replaced that memory with some very special ones.
“My favorite memory came when I hit my first varsity home run on the one year anniversary of my dad’s death,” Braundmeier said.
This was a very touching and emotional experience for Braundmeier, but the memories did not stop there.
“We can’t forget about the time my van rolled away after softball,” Braundmeier said. “My car just shut off as I was driving in the parking lot. I got out to check it out, and it started rolling away because I forgot to put it in park… and it ended up hitting a pole.”
Braundmeier has had an exciting first few years on the softball team, but she’s ready to tackle the challenges this year will bring. Braundmeier had one main goal that she’d like to accomplish this year, and that goal is to get at least one hit every game.
As for the lasting friendships Braundmeier has made throughout the years playing softball, she picked one current teammate and one past teammate when asked who’d she want by her side in a zombie apocalypse.
“If I was going with past teammates, I’d pick Anna Jones. She’s strong and not scared of anything,” Braundmeier said. “If I had to go with a current teammate, I’d easily pick Hayle Hacker. She’s super strong. I mean, have you seen her?” Braundmeier asked.
The love Braundmeier has for her past teammates was shown when she couldn’t decide between two players when asked who’d she want to bring back to play another season with her.
“I’d want to bring back either Aubrey Miller or Anna Jones,” Braundmeier said. “They’re both super fun to be around and always brought the team together.”
The past couple of weeks, word has spread that Abby Braundmeier and Meghan Moorman are front runners for the funniest girls on this year’s team. Braundmeier was pretty happy when receiving such news.
“I guess it’s an honor,” laughed Braundmeier. “It makes me feel good. It lets me know that I’m helping others enjoy the sport of softball.”
While Braundmeier took such praise humbly, she believes Taylor Wils is the funniest person on this year’s squad.
“Taylor is a serious funny,” Braundmeier said. “She tries to be serious but whenever she asks something it comes off sarcastic.”
As for Braundmeier’s pregame rituals, Braundmeier loves to listen to country music, more specifically, Dan + Shay. Braundmeier said country music helps calm her down before games and gives her summer vibes. As for a pregame snack, Braundmeier likes to eat strawberries, which she packs by herself before every game.
Besides playing at the newly constructed softball field in Oskaloosa, Braundmeier looks forward to playing at Pella.
“I like playing at Pella because it’s always nice to win there,” Braundmeier said. “I also know the girls that play on the Pella team so playing against them is always fun too.”
Besides softball, Braundmeier has played basketball for the past two years and played volleyball throughout middle school.
“I like playing basketball because it allowed me to get my anger out,” Braundmeier said. “It was physical down low and I could always shove people around.”
Excluding softball and basketball, Braundmeier loves babysitting, hanging out with her friends, driving around while listening to music and going to bonfires in the summer.
The past two years of high school have had a positive impact on Braundmeier.
“I’ve enjoyed everything high school has had to offer so far,” Braundmeier said. “I actually like learning to, so that helps. Math is my favorite subject and I love writing papers.”
As you can see, any teacher would be lucky to have a student like Braundmeier in their classroom, although Braundmeier chose one teacher that she really enjoys having.
“Mrs. Gritters is one of my all time favorites. She makes learning fun,” Braundmeier said.
To end the interview, Braundmeier shared a scripture from Philippians 4:13 that is written on the inside of her glove, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”