Families have always been a huge part of the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame. Bill Mrukowski was an early inductee and a couple of years later his father Frank made it.
That tradition continues this year with the Anderson and Sito families as Lindsay Anderson Brown joins her sister Ashley (Class of 2007) in the hall.
Anderson Brown, Duane Hawkins, Tom Kubuski, Jon Laird, Brianne McLaughlin and Elyria High’s 1977 girls medley relay team will be enshrined Saturday night at Lorain County Community College’s Spitzer Center.
“I was surprised to learn about it,” Anderson Brown, a three-time All-Ohio pitcher who also played three years of volleyball and four years of basketball at Elyria High, said of her induction.
“She was my first pitcher,” Pioneers softball coach Ken Fenik said. “She was the real deal. She put us on the map and got us an invitation to the Wendy’s Classic. That was the first time we had been invited. We’ve been there ever since.
“She was a hard worker. A good hitter, too.”
Her stepsisters, Julie and Tess Sito, certainly contributed to the success of the Elyria softball program, and her stepbrother Jack Sito was a standout in football, basketball and baseball for the Pioneers.
But Anderson Brown is proof All-Ohio pitchers aren’t born, they’re made — through a lot of hard work and dedication. Most kids wouldn’t want to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning but Anderson Brown did just that at the urging of her stepfather, Jack Sito, and the blessing of her mom, Jane.
They would spend those early hours at the YMCA working on her skills.
Her father, Steve Anderson, was an excellent athlete at Elyria High as was her stepfather. Her mother did her part, too.
“My mom wasn’t super athletic,” Anderson Brown said. “Her life was all about taking us to sports. She made that our family vacations. She was so supportive. She worked, she had small kids, but she was at every game. My mom was a really big part of it.”
Early on, Anderson Brown followed Ashley’s lead and joined a LaGrange OGSO travel team coached by Jim Burrer.
“Competitor is the word you put to her,” Burrer said of Anderson Brown. “Everything she did. She didn’t start out pitching the first couple years. My daughter pitched for us the first couple years but anything Lindsay wanted to do, she was going to accomplish.”
“Anywhere I went, Lindsay would go,” Ashley said. “You know how it is with the younger sister and it kind of translated down to Julie and Tess, too. Aunt Jan would take us to an extra practice. We always had a place to practice. (Jack Sito) would get the guys at the Y (YMCA) to let us in early. Even Coach Burrer would let me get the keys to the gym if I had to just to get in because the weather was always so bad. That was a big part of it.”
After high school, Anderson Brown took her talents to Miami Shores, Fla., and Barry University, where she was an Academic All-American and once pitched all 21 innings in a 2-1 marathon victory at Florida Southern. It’s still one of the longest stints in NCAA history. Ironically, it was on her birthday — April Fools’ Day.
Not only did she pitch all 21 innings — giving up 10 hits and striking out nine with three walks — she also drove in both runs and was credited with 15 assists, including one on the game-ending double play.
“It was crazy,” she said. “It was a doubleheader and that was the first game. The second game took 14 innings. We basically played five games that day.”
The double header started at 1 p.m. and ended at 10:44. Anderson Brown didn’t play the second game.
“I think we left at 11:30 at night,” she said. “The amazing thing was the pitcher for the other team pitched half the second game.
“I wasn’t there but I remember her calling me,” said her mother. “I said, ‘Lindsay, you’re April fooling me. You are not telling me the truth.’”
For Anderson Brown, there was more to it than just a long game.
“You learn from sports and the work ethic that you don’t quit,” she said. “You have a job to do and do it well and you continue to work until you get the job done. I think sports and the work ethic that you learn from being an athlete kind of carries over to the academics as well.”
“Sports were always pretty important in our family,” said her mother. “I didn’t play any sports. I liked to run but when they had a chance to play softball, I told them to go ahead and give it a try. They had to keep on top of their grades first before they got all wrapped up in sports. I always felt like the coaches stressed that too. I think the teachers at Elyria always did a good job of that.”
Anderson Brown met her husband, Carrington Brown, at Barry and they have three daughters, Lola Jane, Blake Carrington and Samantha Colleen. She received her MBA from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and she worked in marketing for Dr. Pepper until the birth of her third daughter. She’s now a stay-at-home mom in the Dallas area.
The friendships she developed during her playing years remain the most cherished part of those days.
“I just counted it up,” she said. “Of the five of us (classmates at Elyria High) — Brooke Bader, Erinn Kingman, Courtney Shaffstall, Bridget Burdick and me — have 17 kids between us. I sometimes wish I was closer to Elyria so they could all grow up together.”
This story has been edited to reflect the following correction: Texas Christian University is in Fort Worth.
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