“Brooke Kane-Walker was the toughest pitcher I faced in high school. It was a great feeling getting a hit or having a quality at bat against her.”
This quote by local college athlete and former Port Allegany Gator Hannah Lathrop shows just the kind of athlete Brook Kane-Walker is and the respect opponents have for her.
Kane-Walker is a 2016 graduate of Smethport Area High School where she played volleyball and softball for the Hubbers.
When asking Brooke what being a Hubber and growing up in Smethport meant to her, she said, “Being a Hubber was and is unique. In our town, we all knew and supported each other. My support system was fantastic and everyone came to watch all of our games and events. I could not ask for a better community to grow up in.”
While Kane-Walker embraced every opportunity in the local area to play softball, she began to explore outside of McKean County in order to become a better player. She played for several travel teams prior to her college days including playing for teams out of Altoona, Pittsburgh, and Cuba, N.Y.. It allowed her to gain exposure to play softball at the highest level while also allowing her to go toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s best talent. She also went to camps at Tennessee, Kentucky, and at St. Bonaventure to help platoon her skills and become the best player she could.
Kane-Walker was recruited by schools like IUP, Marshall, and St Bonaventure, but she knew Bonaventure would give her a great opportunity to play Division I softball while staying close to home and getting a top notch education. Deciding on St. Bonaventure also allowed Kane-Walker to study health science with a focus in kinesiology. She plans to go to physical therapy school after graduating in May of 2020.
Growing up, she was surrounded by former college athletes and long-time high school coaches who played a key role in her journey to Division I athletics.
Her cousins Sarah and Mallory Kane each played college softball and set a great example on what it would take to play at that level.
“I went to countless games of theirs growing up both high school and college. They helped me understand the things I needed to do to be a college athlete. It is great that they continue to help and support me to this day.”
Mallory and Sarah’s father, Jim Kane, was the softball coach at Smethport for over 20 years and was crucial in helping Brooke during her incredible high school career. Jim helped each of his daughters as well as Brooke get better throughout their high school careers and pushed them to put in the necessary extra work. In addition to Jim, Brooke also listed her long time coach Dan Baker as a huge part of her success.
“He practiced with me ever since I was 10 years old. He has been a great coach and supporter of my career.”
However, it may be Kane-Walker’s mom Connie Kane who played the biggest role in guiding Brooke to where she is today.
Connie was a former college basketball player at Villa Maria College and later the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
“My mom would practice with me, allowed me to play travel softball, took me to showcases and college camps, and went to so many of my games. I cannot thank her enough for putting in so much effort to help me realize my dreams.”
Brooke Kane-Walker enjoyed one of the best high school softball careers during her time playing in the Northern Tier League.
She was named an NTL First Team All-Star four times while taking home the NTL Player of the Year honors three times. She was also named the Big 30 player of the year as well as Smethport’s most outstanding female athlete in her senior year. Her success continued as she transitioned to college, but not without a small bump in the road.
In her first college season, Brooke suffered an ankle injury, but her sophomore and junior seasons have been filled with success. After playing in just 14 games her first season, she has since appeared in 81 games for the Bonnies.
She serves as the shortstop and sometimes the designated hitter, and her batting statistics have improved each season. After hitting a respectable .250 in her sophomore campaign, Kane-Walker raised her average to .306 in her junior season, collecting 41 hits, knocking in 27 and scoring 12 more. Her 27 RBI ranked her in the top 10 all time in a single season for St. Bonaventure softball. The Bonnies did not qualify for postseason play, but Kane-Walker thinks the team has what it takes to have a much better record in 2020.
Some of her goals for her final season include, “Making the A-10 tournament, sticking together as a team, and winning the close games we previously lost. As for me, if I continue to improve my batting average, my range in the field, and also improve my fielding percentage, I know this will lead to more wins for our team.”
With one final year of softball on the horizon for Smethport grad Brooke Kane-Walker, she is thankful for everything the sport has given her and has yet to present her with.
“I am so thankful for all of the great teammates I have had through the years. From travel, to high school, to college, I have played on some great teams with amazing girls. I could not ask for much more.”