NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT) – Emma Bruggenschmidt is a middle schooler in Newburgh and is quite the sports phenom. She’s the starting shortstop for the competitive Beverly Bandits, a traveling softball team based in Chicago. The bandits played in the Premier Girls Softball National Championship in California this past week and she came home to Indiana – a champion.
The Beverly Bandit DeMarini Norwood team is comprised of teen girls from six different states, traveling across the US and demolishing their competition along the way. Emma Bruggenschmidt is an 8th grader at Castle South and is the only local girl on the team. She says she and her team have been striving for their recent success.
“At the beginning of the season we set a goal to win Cali and Colorado, which we did! And it was good to see all our hard work pay off,” Emma said.
Going into nationals in California, the Bandits had an extremely impressive schedule this season, with 85 wins and only 6 losses.
Emma added, “we take it to our own responsibility to practice at home and practice on our own. Especially the last game…it was definitely a team win.”
The Bruggenschmidt family says they credit the hard work and determination from the team to the coaching staff who they admire.
“We have an amazing coach – he pours everything into the players and their development and their character. He’s always setting good examples. So we’re just so blessed to have such great coaches on her team,” said Ashlee Bruggenschmidt, Emma’s mom.
At the age of just 13, Emma is a rockstar softball player. She is ranked 20th in the nation in the class of 2026 and hit a .407 at nationals. Her mom, Ashlee, said Emma dedicates each game to her late sister, Kate, who died in an accident in 2015 during down time at a softball tournament.
“Well Emma wear the number 12 in honor of her sister and then on her helmet she has a sticker that says “Play for Kate” as do several of the girls on her bandits team. So it’s just nice to see Emma and the girls carry on Kate’s legacy and to keep her memory alive,” said Ashlee.
Emma added, “[Kate] definitely makes me work harder and to push myself to be the person I am right now and to improve my game more and more.”
Emma said she wants to play for a power five college and also hopes to become the next local Olympian and play for Team USA Softball.