Shaina Brock was more than happy to join her friends as they played softball in middle school.
It deviated from a path in which she imagined herself not playing team sports like her siblings. However, the social aspect was tough to ignore.
After becoming a four-time, all-state softball recipient and pitching parts of four years at Baylor and the University of Pacific, the decision has made the 2007 graduate a Derby High School Hall of Fame inductee.
“I remember watching all of these [past inductees] growing up,” Brock said. “Matt Leiszler and Terrell Benton … it’s really cool to be a part of. It doesn’t seem real.”
She will be joined by Benton and the 1994 state championship football team as the inductees for the 2019 class. They will be honored in a pregame ceremony prior to the Sept. 27 game vs. Bishop Carroll.
Her arrival to Derby High School softball coincided with Christy Weve’s start as head coach. Brock was the No. 2 varsity pitcher as a freshman and was a part of the uprising of what has become one of the state’s top programs.
Brock’s competitive fire made her a natural fit in softball, labeling herself as her “own worst critic.” She also embraced learning from an experienced group of underclassmen.
“I was more of a follower at that point and I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Brock said.
“I looked to those leaders to make me the ball player I became.”
Weve said Brock’s “edge” was evident the second she walked into the Derby program.
“She was physically and mentally tough,” Weve said. “She could walk the bases loaded and get herself out of it. There aren’t a whole lot of kids who can do that and not lose their composure on the mound.”
The Derby graduate’s career culminated in the Class 6A state championship game against Olathe East, but she and her teammates fell short in their title pursuit. She said that final weekend of her career was exhausting, but it was thrilling to play in the final game of the Class 6A state tournament.
“I had just graduated high school and I was so excited to be there,” she said. “There were so many emotions going into that game, but being with everyone and knowing how hard we had worked to get there, it was all the motivation to keep going.”
Brock said she understood that she was one of the better pitchers in the area, but it wasn’t until playing with the Wichita Mustangs that she saw her ability to compete at an even higher level.
“I tried out for them and made the team [before my junior year],” she said. “… We traveled everywhere. I saw a lot of the country because of it and we played in front of a lot of college coaches. I started getting offers around my senior year.”
Brock signed at Baylor two months after her senior year, finding a fit that was closer to home and playing in the Big 12 Conference. She found herself in awe to be playing alongside girls with aspirations like herself.
One year after becoming a Bear, the program reached the NCAA Super Regionals and made a trip to play at Michigan. Brock started the final game, which was one year after her teammates had sent the same team home in that round.
She finished her sophomore season with a 7-3 record through 17 appearances. Brock, who was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection that season, struck out 45 batters in 49.2 innings. She had 41 strikeouts the year before.
Pacific, which is located in Stockton, Calif., had recruited her out of high school, but she didn’t pursue it due to its distance from home.
Wanting to pursue a new school for her final two years, she chose the Big West program.
The former Panther said Baylor was a detail-oriented program, including the importance of always sprinting on and off the field and also polishing her cleats.
A more relaxed approach greeted her once she arrived in Stockton.
“I remember my first practice at Pacific and I sprinted in and everyone just stared at me wondering, ‘what’s this lady doing?’”
That work ethic paid off in her first year with the Tigers, making 20 starts and throwing 114 innings to go along with 73 strikeouts. She tallied nine complete games and also pitched in its win over then-ranked Tennessee.
“[Coach Brian Kolze] is very fair in how he runs his program and that really resonated with me,” she said. “The girls I met were a fun group and it was a group I knew I wanted to spend 75 percent of my collegiate career with. It was a no brainer at the time.”
The Tigers reached the NCAA Tournament in her senior year, finishing their season with games at Stanford. She capped her time in the Big West with an 11-10 career record.
Brock now lives in Durham, N.C., with her husband. She’ll be joined by him and other friends and family at the September induction.