"She was a Briar Jumper for life."
David Dorsey was Brynlee Bigelow's coach when she played on the softball diamond for Somerset High School. One could feel the heaviness in his voice as he talked about the talented student-athlete and what she meant to his program.
On Tuesday night, around 9 p.m., Bigelow, 21, was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Woodford County, in the westbound lanes of I-64. WKYT reported that it was between Midway and Frankfort.
According to Versailles Police, officers arrived to find Bigelow's single vehicle had rolled over and came to rest in the grass median of the roadway. WKYT reported that the vehicle had apparently rolled over multiple times.
Bigelow was pronounced dead at the scene by the Woodford County Coroner's Office, which told the Commonwealth Journal that a seatbelt had not been in use at the time of the accident and Bigelow was ejected from the vehicle.
The cause of the accident has not been determined by the reconstruction team, according to Versailles Police.
Bigelow, a 2016 graduate, was best known in sports for her aggressiveness and fearless attitude.
Bigelow, who was a standout in basketball, soccer and softball, was named the 2015 Commonwealth Journal Female Athlete of the Year. She was selected to the Commonwealth Journal All-County team in all three sports during the 2015 calendar year. And in both the All-County soccer and softball balloting, Bigelow was just barely edged out for the ‘Player of the Year’ award.
On the soccer field, Bigelow collected 195 saves as the Lady Jumpers’ goal keeper and recorded five shutouts. Bigelow was selected to both the All-Tournament teams at both the district and region levels.
On the basketball court, Bigelow averaged 12.2 points per game and averaged 6.1 rebounds per game her senior year.
But it was on the softball field where Bigelow gained most of her statewide recognition. During her senior season, Bigelow led the county with a .407 batting average. She was a fearless catcher who protected home plate for the Lady Jumpers.
It was her uncanny ability to get on base and score runs that caught the eye of the University of Kentucky softball team, where she received a Division I athletic scholarship in 2016.
Bigelow went on to play one year of softball for UK, something which Dorsey called "the highlight of her career" — something "very few" others can do.
He added, "She played the game the way it was supposed to be played. ... She was probably a better person than an athlete."
Dorsey said that he'd been in touch with other members of the SHS team that played with Bigelow, who were also upset about their friend's passing. Dorsey said the current team has planned to wear black armbands in memory of Bigelow for the upcoming season and at some point hold a "Brynlee Bigelow Night" event.
"It's just a terrible time for Somerset Fast Pitch, to lose someone that young and with that much life in front of her," he said.
Bigelow's basketball coach at SHS, Erin Walker Todd, said that she was "heartbroken" to hear of Bigelow's passing.
"I have never met an athlete quite like Brynlee Bigelow. The raw athletic ability she had is very rare," said Walker Todd. "You could give her a new task, something she had never done before, and she would have it mastered within minutes. She was intelligent and hard working. When she stepped on the court or field, you knew she was going to give her all. She was someone you could push because you knew it would make her better.
"It was such an honor to get to be a part of her progression through her early high school years," she added. "I was so proud of her accomplishments even after I had left. You never forget that kind of player; they make an impression on your heart. ... She will be missed tremendously."
Somerset Athletic Director Bob Tucker summed up Bigelow's legacy at the school: "Whether playing soccer, basketball, softball or tiddlywinks, Brynlee was one of the greatest competitors (male or female) in my 47 years of watching athletes at Somerset High School."