Kailey Harrigan hit a team record of eight home runs this year.

The Bloomingdale Bulls softball team had an outstanding season, winning the district tournament for the first time since 2004 in what will be Head Coach Mark Braddy’s final season.

Braddy, who took over the team in 2015, reached his 100th career win as a head coach this season. He spent two seasons at the helm of Tampa Catholic before joining Bloomingdale for five seasons as the head coach. He was an assistant with the Bulls previously and his two daughters, Marlie Braddy and Bailie Braddy, played at Bloomingdale as well. Marlie along with Bloomingdale softball and baseball alumni Leah Pemberton and Joe Campoamor are currently assistants on his staff.

Braddy had a lot of success at Bloomingdale, culminating in the third district championship in school history, defeating Plant City 2-1 in a very challenging 8A District game in his last season. The program won the state championship back in 2014, but did not win their district that season.

“It’s an impressive accomplishment. In my last five years, we’ve had some great teams and we’ve never been able to accomplish that task,” said Braddy. “We’ve had some girls that have gone on to some D1 schools and have had great careers, and this was the year that we probably weren’t expected to win it, and we did.”

One of the many standout players for the Bulls this season is junior catcher Kailey Harrigan, who set the record for most home runs in a season by a Bloomingdale player with eight while playing her home games at one of the bigger fields in the county. She was named to the First Team All-Western Conference, batting .466 with 28 RBIs and 34 hits while throwing out half of the baserunners that attempted to steal on her.

Other key players include sophomore pitcher and UCF commit Maddie Droz, who had 12 wins with a 1.87 ERA and 100 strikeouts, and junior lead-off hitter Trinity Howard with a .405 average and 34 hits and 16 RBIs. They also had three senior leaders, Alyssa Adams, Maddie Pena and Cailey Melancon.

“It’s never easy taking over a program that’s coming right off the heels of a state championship, but Coach Braddy took it in stride with passion and hard work,” said Campoamor. “Coach Braddy has made countless improvements to the program and facilities over the last five years that will have lasting effects for years to come. I’ve personally grown a lot and learned a lot through Coach Braddy as a mentor. It has been an honor and a privilege to coach with him this whole time and I’m glad to call him a friend of mine.”

Bloomingdale will start the process of finding its next head coach. As for Braddy, he will always be a fan of the game and will continue to follow his daughter Marlie’s coaching career. Ultimately, he and his wife want to travel the country in their motorhome.

“I feel like I’ve done a lot. I’ve enjoyed my career as a coach in high school, it’s something I will cherish forever, and I have no regrets,” said Braddy. “I feel like I’ve tried to give more that I received, but man, I tell you, I have received a lot from the kids that I’ve gotten to know and things I’ve learned along the way. My walk away this year, especially having the district championship, knowing that it was my last season, I am just grateful to all the coaches that I’ve coached with and all the players that I was fortunate enough to coach.”

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.