Virginia Glory Organization:
Name: Abi Britton
Nickname: Ab or Britt
Hometown: LaVale, Maryland (MD)
Grad Year: 2024
Travel Team: Virginia Glory Willemssen National 18u
- Head Coach Suzy Willemssen
High School: Allegany High School, MD
- Fastball: 64-66
- Screwball: 60-62
- Curve: 55-58
- Rise: 58-61
- Change: 45-48
Overhand Velocity: 63
Exit Velocity off Tee: 78
Home to first: 3.1
Intended Major: Biology or something in STEM
Who are you? I am Abigail Rose Britton, a girl who loves travel and loves softball. I’m a social butterfly and I’m always down for trying new stuff. I’ve always been an outgoing kid excited to try new things, playing for the Glory has given me the best of both worlds in my mind. I get to travel to new places every summer while playing the game I love with the people I love. Personally I don’t think it could get any better then that.
How did your softball journey begin? My softball journey actually began at a University of Maryland pitching camp. I was 8 years old and I knew little to nothing about pitching. I started playing at the age of 4 for my local rec-team spending most of my time in the outfield making flower crowns. At the age of 8, I started pitching and knew that was the spot for me.
What do you attribute your successes and achievements to? 110% credit my success to hard work. I’ve always been the big strong kid growing up but everything I’ve achieved pitching wise has come from time in the gym and going to throw even when I didn’t necessarily feel like it. My dad and I live by the quote “trust the process” with my pitching. Pitching definitely is not easy, things are always being tweaked causing you to adjust to being uncomfortable, as a pitcher the mental aspect tests how well you can adjust to change. For me I’ve always experienced the “you get worse before you get better” side of things. But in all of my experimenting with body movements and positioning, I’ve became very aware of what feels good and what doesn’t. So for me all I can really do is trust that good things will come from the work I’ve put in, and so far in my journey good things have came from the work. So I dedicate my success to my work ethic and the time I’ve put in.
How do you handle knowing everyone is giving their best effort against you? I take this as a huge compliment. They are getting the same thing from me though on the flip side. I’m giving them by best effort to win my battle. I’m using all of my tools to get them out. My personal standard is to never take anyone lightly, no matter who it is or where I am. Everyone gets the best me that I have to give at that time.
What is your game time cruising fastball speed and other game pitch speeds? My game time cruising speed sits at 64-65. The fastest speed that I know of being clocked at in game is 65. I throw a lot of curve balls and a lot of change ups. My curve sits at about 55 and my change is anywhere from 45-48. My go to pitch 100% is my change-up. I am a change-up lover. It’s a super effective pitch for me and I honestly just love to throw it. I spend a lot of time working on that pitch also. I can control it for a strike and I also throw one that dives for more of a swing and miss pitch.
What is your greatest strength as a softball player? My strength as a player is my mentality. I enjoy the pressure and I like to test my limits. As a pitcher I love going into tight games and holding it. I live for those high pressure moments. I love the adrenaline. Mentally as a pitcher I feel that you have to understand that softball is a game of failure, it’s how well you respond to it. Pitching as Coach Suzy taught me is like dancing, how well can we dance around the strike zone to confuse the hitter and throw them off. Pitching is like one big mind games and I have the mindset that I never wanna lose that game. No matter who that game is against, the umpire, the hitter, things that I can’t control. I always want to win.
Abi is a winner
Please describe your leadership style. I’d say my leadership style is find your strength and build on it. As a leader I don’t expect you to be perfect at everything, I expect you to give 110% effort all the time and be great at YOUR strength. I feel that great leaders are very selfless, they are looking at the big picture, not just what happens at one moment in time or what just affects them. They are looking at what affects the group or team. A leader needs to help build their peers up and get them to see their best, they shouldn’t tear them down.
USA HPP tryout (Abi is back left)
How do you balance your time and life so effectively? Balancing everything is not easy, I’d be lying if I said it was. As a student athlete I try to make school stay at school the best I can. In my free time or free periods I do homework so I can have more time after practices to just chill. Of course there are some days where I still have homework but the load is definitely lighter. My grades are very important to me so I try to stay on top of things the best I can. On weekends that I don’t play I try to get all softball work done in the morning so I have that time to hang out with friends after.
Abi dressed as an Oompa Loompa for High school Spirt week with her high school teammate
What is your game day mental preparation? My game day preparation starts with visualizing and lots of music. I visualize success, I do this before I go to the bullpen, I do this before every pitch, and I do this before every at bat in high school. In the circle my thought process is how do I throw this pitch effectively. I see where the pitch needs to be and I feel how I do that. This gets me locked in and ready to preform.
What is my greatest sports memory and achievement? My greatest sports memory would have to be playing in Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) National Championship Tournament this past year with my team. We may not have won it all but I felt like we all really came together and played as one. It was just a really great atmosphere. Everyone on my team always is there to pick you up when you fall.
Abi with teammate Christina Willemssen at PGF
What is your greatest sports achievement? My greatest achievement in sports would be coming back from my Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) surgery when we thought I’d never be the same. In ways I never was the same, I became better then before.
Can you please explain TOS and your personal experience? In 2019 I was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). At this time I was playing volleyball, competitive swimming, and of course playing softball. Every time I would take part in one of my sports I would experience swelling in my hand/arm and numbness, I just assumed it was blood getting rushed into my hands because of the arm movements so I kinda just didn’t think much of it. One tournament my hand ended up swelling so badly that I couldn’t fit a batting glove on it, at this moment my parents and I were like we need to get this checked, and after my pitching coach Denny Tincher became worried we knew it was serious.
There are 3 types of this syndrome and I happened to have all 3 sadly. Originally the plan was just for me to stop playing sports because we thought that was the problem, but soon we realized that this was affecting my everyday life and that I had to get the surgery. The likelihood of me playing softball again was very little but I wasn’t giving up that easy. After my surgery I was in the worst pain of my life and to add on top of that my arm was paralyzed, yes my pitching arm. I was crushed by this, but I still wasn’t giving up. About a month after my surgery was when the whole world shut down due to COVID-19, this meant no physical therapy (PT) for me. My dad and I took matters into our own hands and rehabbed me back to health in a matter of weeks. Slowly I began to regain feeling in my arm and as my feeling came back we did more. I started throwing from about 5 feet away until I got strong enough to move back further. Mentally this was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, and I can’t say it was much easier physically. Everyone around me was super encouraging the whole time I was rehabbing and they always supported me. I’m very thankful for the fact that my coaches didn’t give up on me and that my parents helped me through the hard times. Just knowing I had people that believed in me definitely helped me push through. My biggest help through recovery was the pool, swimming in the pool helped me loosen up all of my scar tissue enough that I could do an arm circle without it hurting. The recovery was definitely not easy but again as I said in an early question you just have to trust the process.
Abi with teammate Allison Corbin (UNCW Commit) after surgery
How would friends and teammates describe you? My friends and teammates would probably describe me as very talkative, I hope they’d say I’m funny. I think they’d also say I'm very understanding and selfless. I'm a very caring person and I'm always looking at what’s best for everybody and I’m always looking at ways I can help people.
Abi with teammate Kaylie Avvisato (#5 Overall Top Prospect in the Nation for 2024 Class)
Who is your role-model/idol? My role-model is my grandmother. She died from breast cancer after fighting it for 16 years. She is my role-model because she never stopped fighting. Everyday she made the best of what that day could be. She loved to travel and paint. We always wanted to go to Paris, France together so I’m hoping one day I can make it there. She always inspired me to be a great young women and I hope I make her proud.
If you could spend a day with a softball player, who would it be? If I could spend a day with any player it would be Yukiko Ueno, the Japan flamethrower of a pitcher. I’d love to hear what she has to say about competing in the Olympics so many times and just being one of the best in the world if not the best.
What is your softball dream/goal? My softball dream is to play college softball one day and maybe even make it to the Olympics. Id love to represent a school not just academically but athletically, I feel it would be an awesome experience. Then to be able to represent your country, that’s an all-time dream.
Describe your perfect softball team. My perfect softball team couldn’t get much better than the team I’m on right now. The team chemistry my team holds is like no other. We all love each other and would do anything for each other. But my “perfect team” if I had to describe would be a very fun and not a judgmental team. A team where everyone can be themself and everyone feels appreciated. Team chemistry is a huge thing for me. It’s gonna be hard to top the team I'm on now though for the “perfect team”.
Virginia Glory Willemssen National 18u
What important things are you looking for in a college? My big things when looking for a school is team chemistry and the coaching staff. When I go to a camp I ask myself if I could see myself going to school here. I want to go to a college where it feels like family.
What are you doing to achieve your softball dreams? Extra work: I got lucky enough to have a best friend whose parents own a crossfit gym. When lifting I do most of it there. My best friend's dad created a workout for me based on my weak spots and my strong spots and I’m very blessed for that. When it comes to private lessons I try to go to a private lesson every couple months if I can.
What gets you hyped before a game? MUSIC. Music gets me really pumped up before a game. I have my pregame playlist and I turn it all the way up and just get in my zone.
In addition to Abi hitting a nuke opposite field Dinger, she went 4-4 in this game
What is your jersey number and why? My jersey number is 56. I like this number because it’s not popular and when I was in 5th grade the only problem I got wrong on my multiplication test was 8x7=56, so I switched my number so I’d never forget. It’s a very stupid story but it’s a true one.
What other hobbies do you have? Outside of softball I enjoy lifting, art, volleyball, skiing/snowboarding, traveling, and SHOPPING. On my softball journey my family tries to stop and see things along the way. I love to go to the US National Parks. My top 2 are Sequoia and Bryce Canyon. Sequoia is in California and Bryce Canyon is in Utah, also my two favorite states. Traveling has always been something that interests me and I just love seeing the different environments and being in the different atmospheres.
Abi with teammate Avery Miller in California on a hiking trip
What advice can you give to younger players? If I had to give advice to younger players I’d tell them to stick with it if they really love it. Being able to play sports is such a privilege and it opens so many doors for you. It’s not always easy but someday when you can’t play you’ll miss the days that weren’t easy. When I couldn’t play because of my TOS I was begging God for another “hard day”. So honestly I’d just tell them to appreciate the opportunity to play this great game and never take it for granted. I’d also tell them just to put in the work. If you want to be great you have to work. As a pitcher I’ve always been the kid that’s had to stay after practice to get my work in and it’s definitely paid off. Work for greatness. If being great was easy everyone would be great.
Who would you like to thank for your softball achievements? I’d like to most importantly thank my parents for all of the support and achievements I’ve made. Without them I wouldn’t even be able to play the game. My parents constantly make sacrifices for me to be able to play and I can’t thank them enough for that. I’d also like to thank my coaches, they’ve never once doubted me. Even when I doubted myself they pushed me to prove myself wrong. They cheered me on when I was down right there with my parents. Without the love and support from these people I wouldn’t be where I am today. My teammates have also given me some of the best support, I’d like to thank them for not giving up on me when I wasn’t great. My team was right there behind me making plays for me when I needed them most, just like they always do.
Memorable Quotes: Coach Suzy Willemson told me once that, “We work with what’s good in the game and work on what’s not after”. She said this to me in Clearwater, Florida during a game when I was struggling to throw certain pitches.
Now this is a funny quote but my team and I went to a corn maze after one of our games one day and being a bunch of softball players we obviously were throwing the corn husks around and one of the husks hit my teammate in the head and Caitlyn Cornwell our University of Maryland commit said “Who’s throwing corn” in a super funny voice.
Kaylie Avvisato’s mom actually when I came and played in our first tournament after my surgery said “Britt, I’m proud of you kid” after I had pitched my first game back and it really stuck with me because I was so nervous.
Additional Information About Abi:
Walk-up song: If I had to choose one I’d probably go with Big Poppa by The Notorious B.I.G Favorite food: Tacos, sushi, or mashed potatoes
Favorite song: Survival by Drake
Favorite Artist: BIGGEST DRAKE FAN EVER
Favorite sports team: The Baltimore Ravens or the Baltimore Orioles
Favorite Sports Celebrity: Cat Osterman
Favorite Movie: The Benchwarmers
Favorite TV Show: The Middle
Favorite book: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Favorite quote: “If you want to look good in front of thousands you have to outwork thousands in front of nobody.”