‘Max’-imum excitement: Panther coach has baby, wins softball crown

Polytech softball coach Jenn Bradshaw supports her team during last weekend's 20-0 state title victory over Caravel. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

Polytech softball coach Jenn Bradshaw supports her team during last weekend’s 20-0 state title victory over Caravel. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

There were a number of people who told Jenn Bradshaw she was crazy, of course.

Who has a baby one week and then goes right back to coaching softball the next, right?

But the people who know Bradshaw best weren’t surprised at all that she couldn’t stay away from the field for long.

“The girls in school were telling me they were having bets as to how quickly she’d be back,” said Trevor Bradshaw, Jenn’s husband and fellow Polytech High teacher. “A week didn’t really surprise me because with Joey (the couple’s two-year-old son), the first time around, it was during softball season. She was back out after a week.

“I mean, with that one, she was hitting to the girls the day before she went into labor and back out in a week. With Max, I’m surprised she lasted a week. I thought it was going to be about four days.”

Max Bradshaw was born on May 7. Jenn Bradshaw did miss three games as assistant Kristy Vodvarka coached the Panthers to three victories.

But Bradshaw was back hitting infield and coaching third base a week later. And last Saturday, she was celebrating with her team after Polytech blanked Caravel, 20-0, to win the school’s first state title in softball.

Taking more time off — either before or after Max was born — was never really a consideration for Bradshaw.

Max and Joey  Bradshaw, sons of Polytech softball coach Jenn Bradshaw and husband Trevor, were faithful fans during the Panthers’ softball state championship run. (Submitted photo)

Max and Joey Bradshaw, sons of Polytech softball coach Jenn Bradshaw and husband Trevor, were faithful fans during the Panthers’ softball state championship run. (Submitted photo)

“I love the sport,” she said. “It’s something I’ve done my entire life. Having Max was a huge change to our lifestyle but playing softball and coaching softball is a huge part of me.

“Every time I was out there, people were like, ‘You’re crazy, you’re insane. How are you still doing this?’ I mean we’re up at Padua the day before I go into labor and I’m hitting infield and outfield practice. But I didn’t think anything of it. I was just natural to me.”

For Bradshaw, winning a softball state championship had been a dream of hers since she was in high school. A standout pitcher at Brandywine High, she and the Bulldogs reached the state semifinals her junior season.

“Back in high school, it’s all I wanted,” said Bradshaw. “And then being a coach, as I saw the Polytech program getting better and better, I knew it was going to be within reach.”

Max got to be part of the state tournament run, too.

He was there at all the games. He hung out with Trevor while mom was coaching before getting handed off back to Jenn when the contest ended.

Bradshaw conducted at least one postgame interview with reporters with the newborn on her shoulder.

Trevor, who is Polytech’s volleyball coach, readily admits he had plenty of help taking care of his two sons during the games.

“It was a crazy month — but in a good way,” he said. “Our Polytech community is so supportive. It was no problem bringing the two kids to a game. I was getting help from parents and administrators. It was never a worry that we couldn’t do that during softball season because we knew how much everybody loves the school and the coaches and the girls. And Jenn especially, I think everybody was so proud to see her back out on the field.

“Something about the crew of girls she had this year, you kind of felt something special could happen,” Trevor added. “Then for our family, a newborn baby and then a softball championship, I think the 2014-15 school year will probably be one that goes down in the history books for our family.”

Not lost on Jenn is the fact that both of her sons were born in the only two seasons that Polytech reached the state title game.
She hopes that’s just a coincidence.

“I told the girls,” said Jenn, “they’ve got to figure out a different way to make to to the state finals now.”

Burrows next at Wesley?

Jerry Kobasa say he’d like to see his assistant, Dean Burrows, get a chance to replace him as Wesley College’s next men’s basketball coach.

After 10 seasons with the Wolverines, Kobasa stepped down this week to become the athletic director at Seaford High.

Burrows has been on Kobasa’s staff for the last three years at Wesley. Last season his title was changed to assistant head coach.

The Wolverines lose only one senior from last year’s squad.

“He knows how the program is and knows what Wesley’s about,” said Kobasa. “I think those kids will all stay and we have a really, really good recruiting class coming in. He’s helped me recruit them. I think if he’s there, they’re not going to go anywhere.”

Before coming to Wesley, Burrows spent three seasons coaching the boys’ basketball program at St. Thomas More.

Odds and ends

• Polytech High boys’ basketball standout Juwan Gray is planning to continue his playing career at Sound Doctrine Christian Academy Prep in Georgia.

• There are several high school all-star games on tap for the coming week.

The Blue-Gold baseball game will be played on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium; the Blue-Gold softball game is on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Dover Little League; while the Blue-White lacrosse games are also on Wednesday at Polytech. The girls’ game is at 6 p.m. with the boys’ contest to follow.

• Media Day for the Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game is next Sunday, June 14, at Delaware Stadium in Newark. The game participants are slated to be out on the field at 2 p.m.

• The Milford athletic department is holding its second annual Tricia Martin Scholarship Baseball Tournament next Saturday and Sunday. The event is in honor of the former Central Academy principal who was killed, along with her daughter, Taryn, in an April 2014 car accident.

All revenue from the tourney goes to an annual scholarship in Martin’s name. The games will be played at Milford High School baseball.

The teams participating in the tournament are the two Rockies Scout teams, Rockies Black and Rockies Purple, along with the Akadema Warriors and Delaware Fightin’s. For more information or to make a donation, go to rockieproscoutbaseball.com.

• Magnolia native Becca Shipper was a freshman on the Florida softball team that won its second straight national championship this week.
A utility player, Shipper got in four games for the Gators and scored a pair of runs this season. She’s a graduate of The Hill School (Pa.).

• The Padua girls’ soccer team that beat Caesar Rodney, 3-1, to win the DIAA state title on Tuesday is ranked No. 24 in the country by Top Drawer Soccer.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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