Gainesville’s Braylin Cook named Athlete of the Week

Gainesville's Braylin Cook went 5-for-6 at the plate with four home runs and six RBI in helping the Hurricanes win two games and the Class 5A-District 2 title last week.
Gainesville's Braylin Cook went 5-for-6 at the plate with four home runs and six RBI in helping the Hurricanes win two games and the Class 5A-District 2 title last week.
Photo by C.J. Gish

It was quite the week for Gainesville softball catcher Braylin Cook during last week’s FHSAA Class 5A-District 2 tournament.

In fact, she had a huge game in the district semifinals to send the No. 2 seed Hurricanes to the district title game.

Cook helped lead the Lady Hurricanes to the district championship by finishing 5-for-6 with four home runs and six runs batted in. She also scored five runs.

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She has been recognized as the Pavlik Orthodontics Athlete of the Week for the week of April 29.

“For the district playoff week her numbers were unbelievable,” said Gainesville coach Chris Chronister, who noted she batted .833 with an on base percentage of 0.857 and a slugging percentage of 3.000.

The junior hit three home runs in a 10-3 win against No. 3 seed Columbia (Lake City) in the district semifinals and added a two-run home run in a 4-0 win at top seed Middleburg in the title game.

“The only other time I could recall that happening (3 HRs in one game) was in 2017 when Olivia Hanson hit three against Eastside, but of course, that was not in a district playoff game or against the much higher level of pitching Braylin was facing in the game against Columbia in a district semifinal game,” Chronister said.

Cook was 4-for-4 in that game with two solo home runs, a two-run home run, and a double off the fence. She finished with four RBI and four RS.

She followed that up by going 1-for-2 with another home run in the district championship game and she was intentionally walked in her last at-bat, which is something she is getting used to.

In the Hurricanes’ game against Santa Fe on April 22 she hit a home run in her first at-bat and was intentionally walked in her final three plate appearances of that game.

In her last seven games, Cook is 9-for-16 (.563 average) with seven HRs, 13 RBI, eight runs scored and she was walked eight times (four were intentional).

“Braylin is a naturally gifted athlete that sets a high standard for the team and her own success,” Chronister said. “She is a fierce competitor with a lot of experience and knowledge of the game.”

Cook has played a major role in the success of the Gainesville High softball team this year.

“Not only has she led the team in a number of offensive categories – batting average .485, 32 hits, 2B (10), 3B (2), HR (11), RBI (39), OBP (0.580), SLG (1.197), and OPS (1.777), but she has been a great receiver behind the plate for our freshman pitcher and has thrown out a number of runners attempting to steal bases,” Chronister said.

GHS (20-4) earned the No. 4 seed in Class 5A-Region 1 and will host No. 5 seed Deltona (18-5) at 7 p.m. on Thursday’s regional quarterfinals.

The ‘Canes are one of four Alachua County teams in the state playoffs.

Cook is the 37th athlete to be selected for the weekly award during the 2023-24 school year.

Last week’s winner was J.J. Gardner of the Buchholz baseball team.

Gardner finished 5-for-9 (.556) with two doubles, two home runs, two runs scored, and four runs batted in as the Bobcats went 3-0 with wins against Forest (Ocala), Lincoln (Tallahassee), and Mandarin (Jacksonville).

Other recent winners include Trey Jeffries of the Keystone Heights boys weightlifting team and Trayce McKenzie of the Columbia (Lake City) baseball team.

For a link to past winners, click here.

Coaches are encouraged to email their nominations each week, along with stats, no later than Sunday night to mike.ridaught@mainstreetdailynews.com.

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