By TJ Millman
It was signing day last Wednesday, and the Milford cafeteria was full of parents, coaches, and administrators, all on hand to watch two of Milford’s greatest athletes make their official decision to take their talents to Division 1 programs. Bryce Greenly, an all-state baseball player who has played every position under the sun for the Bucs, will be attending the University of Virginia to play outfield. Darby Brennan, an all-state softball and field hockey player, will play field hockey at Liberty University.
For Greenly, his signing for UVA was something of an eventuality. He was first noticed by UVA scouts when he was 15, playing in a travel ball tournament, and after a trip to the campus he verbally committed to be a Cavalier. A verbal commit is impressive, but it is also not binding in any sort of way. It was up to Greenly to continue to improve his level of play and earn a place on the team when his time came.
Greenly has been a star at Milford since his freshman year, and said that a lot of his success has been thanks to how well prepared he was when his time came.“Freshman year I was lucky enough to start varsity, and it wasn’t as hard of an adjustment as I thought it would be. Everything was very structured, and it made it easy for me. The baseball was great, the academics here are great, and I’m just so excited about all of this,” Greenly said.
While his career at Milford is full of accomplishments, Greenly has also had his share of adversity along the way. He tore his PCL in the fall of his sophomore year, and he missed his entire sophomore season because of it. Still, he found a way to make a positive out of such a negative situation.“Having something that he loved with such passion taken away from him forced Bryce to sit back and watch. He told me that he learned so much more about the game of baseball, and about being a young man, when he was stuck sitting back and learning. Everything that he has gone through has prepared him to go to UVA and succeed, and I consider it one of my greatest honors to have been able to spend time with him. That whole year he was injured, he tossed balls to me while I hit to the outfield and talked shop. Those are some of the moments that I am going to cherish,” Milford Baseball Head Coach Nick Brannan said.
Whereas Greenly knew his love for baseball, Darby Brennan had to make a decision between her two favorite sports, softball and field hockey. She was all-state in both sports, but in the end it came down to her respect for the complexity of field hockey. “I really always had a love for field hockey because the game itself is just so complex, and that makes it so much fun. I like it a little more than softball, but there is something that always brings me back to softball as well,” Brennan said.
Brennan’s decision to play at Liberty will place her under Milford alumni, and current Flames Head Coach, Nikki Parsley. “When Nikki was an assistant coach she reached out to me about playing at Liberty, but she let me know the things that I would need to work on in order to make it. Once she was made the Head Coach it made my decision a lot easier. I’m really excited to play for her and get an insight to all the knowledge that she has,” Brennan said.
Brennan was a work horse for Milford Field Hockey, playing almost every minute of every game, and her hard work and tenacity will be missed by next year’s team. Outside of her physical performance, Head Coach Andrea Fleming said she will also miss Darby’s leadership and knowledge of the game.
“Darby is a wonderful leader. She was involved with every player, practices, giving feedback, giving constructive criticism, analyzing games, and just always thinking about how we could improve. It was like having a coach who is also a player. The biggest thing was that she always came out with a positive attitude through adversity. After a hard game she would message the team, encouraging everyone to keep it up and keep a positive mindset,” Fleming said.
What separates Greenly and Brennan from other athletes is not just their abilities, but their humble personalities. Both athletes know that the game is a grind, and they commit selflessly to improving not just themselves, but their teammates as well. Brennan and Greenly will be players to watch this spring as they lead their teams onto the diamond one last time, and then it’s off to the next level where they will undoubtedly make Milford proud.
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