Charlotte Brombach is not one to back down from a challenge. So the 12 stitches she received after a run-in with an outfield fence last year didn’t set her back; if anything, they spurred her on to making All-Ivy first team for the second straight year.
It’s hard to say exactly what Brombach means to the Cornell women’s softball team. As a senior captain on the field and a respected leader off it, she plays many roles for head coach Dick Blood’s squad.
“She adds an aura of energy, commitment, dynamism, dedication, and leadership anywhere she goes,” said Blood.
Battling back from an injury is just one of Brombach’s many outstanding accomplishments during her stay at Cornell these past four years. Coming to Ithaca all the way from Prunedale, Ca., the outfielder brought with her a very intense softball background.
“Because of the weather, we played all year round and things were just a lot more serious and intense back where I come from. But I liked Coach Blood a lot and found that he was a better instructor than anyone back home,” Brombach commented.
Immediately making her presence felt, the standout garnered All-ECAC honors at center field after her first spring.
Brombach followed her break-out freshman year with another outstanding effort the very next season. It was her sophomore year that saw the Red win its first Ivy League title as well.
“It was so exciting. I scored the winning run in the Harvard game [that won the title] off Kelli [Larsen’s] hit. I just remember everyone going crazy. It was really neat,” recalls Brombach.
She was named to the All-Ivy first team for the first time after that season.
Last year saw Brombach firmly establish herself as one of the region’s finest players. She also acted as a co-captain for the Red, formalizing her present leadership role on the squad.
The aforementioned accident occurred at Brown and nearly ripped Charlotte’s entire lower lip from the joint at her jaw. She had been running back towards the wall for a fly ball and thought she had enough room to make a clean play. Instead, the wall came up quickly on her and just as the ball hit her mitt, her head was thrown backwards by the force of a pole supporting the chain link fence.
Brombach was out for seven games but still managed to return and once again gain All-Ivy first team honors after hitting .321 and knocking in 19 runs.
The comeback was most remarkable and only added to the tremendous respect her teammates held for her already.
Above her impressive resume, that respect is what Brombach seems most proud of having earned during her four years on the team.
“I like to lead on and off the field,” she said. “If someone is not conducting themselves in a way that positively represents Cornell softball, I let them hear about it. I feel like I’ve earned a level of respect that allows me to assume that role for this team.”
Blood echoed the importance of Brombach’s role.
“She makes things happen on the field, but more than that she is a very strong leader for us all the time,” he said. “She leads by even more than just example and her teammates love her because of it.”
Brombach is a double threat at the plate as well, combining a contact hitting style with a potential for serious power. In a game against Yale, Brombach hit a grand slam in her first at-bat and a three-run homer just two at-bats later.
She shines in her normal position in center field but has also played first base at times for the Red.
The many faces of Charlotte Brombach both on the diamond, in the locker room, around campus, and in the community add to her already pronounced prominence.
“Charlotte Brombach is as important a player as we’ve ever had in this program,” Blood summed up.
But this season seems poised to be Brombach’s to dominate. The Red looks to be at the top of the league when the dust settles. Brombach feels an urgency for such an outcome and wants a proper ending to her stellar four years here on East Hill.
“To put it simply,” finished Brombach, “none of the personal goals or accomplishments mean anything if we don’t win. I want another ring, and this is my last year to [get one].”
They say that a leader rises to the top when it matters most. If history means anything, Brombach is more than ready to assume a role to which she has been ascending for four years: captain of an Ivy League champion.
Archived article by Scott Jones