Keenan does it all
Sophomore outfielder Keenan is a versatile player for Tufts
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Tufts sophomore outfielder Brianna Keenan has proved her flexibility on the field.
Just six months ago, Keenan stood in net as the starting goalie for the Tufts field hockey team. As the clock struck zero, the Jumbos won the school’s first women’s national championship with a 2-1 victory against Montclair State. On Friday, Keenan started in left field for the Jumbos softball team, producing an RBI-double to help Tufts blank Texas-Tyler 6-0 in the first round of the NCAA Division III national finals.
Keenan's versatility does not end there. She has also played multiple positions for the Jumbos softball squad this year including left field, short stop and third base.
“[Keenan] came as an infielder. We had a ton of injuries and started using her arm and speed in the outfield,” Tufts head coach Cheryl Milligan said. “She has been working hard and competed herself out of the infield because of such strong play in the outfield.”
This season alone, Keenan has made 25 starts for the Tufts in the outfield, 10 at third base and eight at short stop. Amid all the different positions, Keenan has produced a .985 fielding percentage, committing just a single error on the season.
“It’s nice to know my coach can rely on me to play any position,” Keenan said. “I’m used to it too. I played every position in high school.”
Aside from her varied roles defensively, Keenan typically hits fifth for a Jumbos lineup that ranks 13th nationally in batting average. She has been hitting .366 this season with a team-best 12 stolen bases.
Up 1-0 in the bottom of the third on Friday, Keenan drove the ball to the left-center gap to score Christina Caso from second, putting the Jumbos up 2-0 in their first-round game against UT-Tyler.
“I knew it was a close game and I know how important it is to win the first game,” Keenan said. “We had a runner on and I had to put it in play. I was just trying to find some green and knew I would get something close to hit and I got in a nice swing.”
Tufts advanced to the second round and will play the winner of Central (Iowa) versus Montclair State on Saturday. The win puts Keenan one step closer to unprecedented territory – a second national championship in the same school year.
Keenan made five saves for the Jumbos field hockey team last November and now she is using that experience to help her team this weekend in Eau Claire.
“It definitely helped,” Keenan said. “I learned a lot from that experience. We really learned how to take it one game at a time. I’ve been asked a lot about the field hockey experience and I’ve been giving advice and telling everyone to ‘enjoy the ride.’”
The time commitment, demand and dedication of being a multisport athlete at the collegiate level is an extraordinary feat in itself. But to do so at the championship level speaks volumes of Keenan’s work ethic and athletic ability.
“It takes a lot of time management. I make sure I get my homework done right away so I can continue to compete,” Keenan paused, “It’s the only way I know how to do it.”