By Bill Foley
Brianna Ossello is taking her game to the next level.
Last week, the Butte High senior left fielder signed an NAIA Letter of Intent to play softball at Mayville State University in North Dakota. She’ll join the Comets in the fall.
“I really liked the feel of the school when I went there to visit,” Ossello said during a break in practice inside Butte High’s old gym Thursday afternoon. “Even though it is really far away from home, I wasn’t going to be too stressed out and lonely.”
The city of Mayville is on the extreme eastern side of North Dakota, about an hour north of Fargo.
The Comets play in the North Star Athletic Association.
The Comets see Ossello as a second baseman and a utility player. That comes after Ossello has moved around the diamond for the Bulldogs.
Ossello played second base and shortstop on the junior varsity team as a freshman. She joined the varsity squad at second base as a sophomore before holding down first base for the Bulldogs last season.
In 2017, Ossello earned second-team all-conference honors after hitting .388 to help lead the Bulldogs to the Class AA State tournament.
“I played every position except for third base in my entire life,” Ossello said. “I don’t think I’d do good at third. I feel like I’d be afraid of the ball.”
This season, the Bulldog coaching staff moved Ossello to left field, where she utilize her speed more. Even though first base to left field is a dramatic position switch, Ossello has embraced the move.
“I like it. It’s a position on the field,” she said. “It’s different because I’m still trying to figure out how to judge the ball and stuff.”
At the plate, Ossello, who played travel ball with the Missoula Osprey, picked up right where she left off last season. After the season opener, the Bulldogs moved Ossello from sixth in the batting order to leadoff.
Through four games, Ossello is 5 for 13 (.385). On Wednesday, she went 2 for 4 with a double to help the Bulldogs pick up a 3-0 win over Class A defending state champion Belgrade in Belgrade.
Ossello, who previously talked with the University of Montana, also visited Dawson Community College in Glendive. There, Ossello clocked in a time of 2.7 seconds from home plate to first base, and she was offered a spot on the team.
She chose Mayville over Dawson because it’s a four-year institution. Dawson is a two-year school.
“That’s why I chose Mayville,” Ossello said. “I didn’t want to have make a decision again in two years.”
Mayville also fits in nicely with Ossello’s plan to major in psychology. The Academic All-State player said she is considering a minor in forensic science, adding that she likes watching the CSI TV shows.
“Watching the shows gives me a big adrenaline rush, and I just love an adrenaline rush,” Ossello said.
The daughter of Chris and Sue Ossello also gets a rush from playing softball.
“I just love how it’s fast-paced,” she said. “Everything is really fast, and I love running. Running the bases is probably my favorite thing.”
Playing in college has been a long-time goal for Ossello, who will represent the Mining City as a cheerleader in the 2018 Montana East-West Shrine Game in Great Falls.
“I’ve always wanted to, but I wasn’t sure I would be able to,” she said of playing college ball. “I was mostly planning on going somewhere for just schooling. Then in my sophomore year, I looked more into it. Last year, my mom was like, ‘If you want to play, you’ve got to hit it hard now. You’ve got next year, and that’s it.’”
Ossello did just that, and it is paying off for the Bulldogs and the Comets.
Mayville State, led by head coach Ashely Vandeveen, is 11-19 overall and 7-10 this season. The Comets went 22-26 and 14-14 last season.