Maggie Livreri was so impressed with Eagle High School’s Bradie Fillmore a few years ago that the coach tried to recruit her to the University of Utah while she was there as an assistant.
“She picked Cal and I remember being upset about that one,” Livreri said. “So it’s funny to see it go full circle.”
The two former Pac-12 Conference foes have joined forces in the unlikeliest of ways this season, with Livreri in her first year as Boise State’s head coach and Fillmore in her first year with the Broncos after joining them as a transfer last summer.
“I decided I didn’t really want to be in California anymore and I wanted to go home and thought Boise State would be perfect,” Fillmore, a junior, said. “This is where I grew up and where I wanted to play, so I kind of reached out to them and it all worked out perfect.”
Fillmore will lead her hometown Broncos into the NCAA Tournament on Friday when they open play in the Gainesville Regional in Gainesville, Florida, against Stanford at 10 a.m. on ESPNU.
The right-handed hitting slugger has had quite the homecoming, leading the Broncos with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs to go along with her .347 batting average. Earlier this week she was named to the All-Mountain West First Team.
“It’s been so awesome,” Fillmore said. “It’s so fun to look out in the crowd and see literally my entire family and everyone I know and love and I just love Boise. This is where I want to be and it’s awesome that I get to end my career here.”
Fillmore dominated during a four-year career at Eagle that included a 30-0 record and a No. 1 national ranking for the Mustangs from MaxPreps.com. In her final prep season pitching, she went 13-0 with a 0.49 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 71 innings and hit a crazy .641 with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs.
She twice was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year, and three different groups tabbed her as a high school All-American. FloSoftball ranked her as the No. 61 recruit in the country.
With Boise State’s program still getting going and Fillmore entertaining numerous Pac-12 offers, she elected to commit early during her high school career to Cal. She started all 55 games for Golden Bears in 2018 as a sophomore, mostly in the outfield, and hit .272 with five home runs and 30 RBIs. She started 92 of 102 games in two years at Cal before deciding to transfer.
Unlike football and basketball, NCAA rules allow softball players that transfer between Division I schools to have immediate eligibility at their new school, which allowed Fillmore to step right into the Boise State lineup in 2019.
“You can’t duplicate experience and her experience coming in and the maturity she had because she had played in such a good league, you could see that from the first day she stepped out on the field for us,” Livreri said. “The biggest challenge was trying to figure out where we were going to put her. We had the opening at third base and thankfully she was able to make the transition pretty quickly because she had played all over the field at Cal, mostly in the outfield, and had pitched in high school.
“Bradie is a really likable young lady and someone people like playing with. It’s just been a natural fit and getting to come home and be in front her hometown crowd has been really cool, too.”
Fillmore has fit right in with the Broncos, hitting fifth in the lineup while ranking near the team lead in almost every offensive category. She’s been especially hot of late, belting 11 home runs in the past 17 games.
The Broncos are hoping her bat can help them do something this weekend they’ve never done — win an NCAA Tournament game. Boise State is making its second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament — the only two trips in school history — but the Broncos lost both games last year to Washington and Minnesota.
After Friday’s game against Stanford, the Broncos will be guaranteed at least one game on Saturday in the double-elimination four-team regional. No. 5 national seed and host Florida is the favorite to advance.
Fillmore appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of her two seasons at Cal.
“She leads us in calmness and confidence at the plate and hopefully that shows this weekend,” Livreri said. “You never really know what’s going to happen in the postseason, obviously, but it’s nice to have some people that have been there and I certainly think some of those younger girls will look to her.”
Fillmore’s first year back in Boise has been one to remember, helping the hometown team get back to the NCAA Tournament with her family and friends in the crowd cheering her on. It’s been a scenario she couldn’t have even dreamed about growing up.
But there’s work still to be done.
“Honestly I couldn’t have imagined anything better than this and being on this team and what we’ve accomplished so far,” Fillmore said. “It’s been so awesome, honestly. I just love this team and they’ve rallied behind me. I’m really excited to see what we can do this weekend.”