Home » Sports » Baxter makes decision to be a Bobcat

Baxter makes decision to be a Bobcat

Nicole Baxter won’t have to worry about college recruiters when softball season rolls around—that decision has already been made.
In life, there are times you just know. You don’t know why you know and don’t see it coming, but nonetheless you feel it. That’s how it was for Baxter the second she stepped onto Lees-McRae College’s campus.
“I went up there and I love the mountains. I saw the scenery, how it was small and close together and then they said, ‘Yeah, we get snow up to your waist sometimes,” Baxter said.
Right there on the spot, she made her mind up—she wanted to be a Bobcat. “I said that’s it I’m going,” Baxter said.
Joined by her parents, Alice and David Baxter, North Lincoln’s coaches Rick Brown, David Johnson and Melanie Painter (in spirit), Baxter signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her career at Lees-McRae.
Also on hand, last Friday, were her siblings, 14-year old brother Sean and 12-year old sister Jill and Denver Dazzle coaches Bobby Shoemaker and Ken Cooke.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to play college softball ever since I was little. I’m looking forward to it,” Baxter, who is planning on being a veterinarian said.
Brown’s just happy she’s getting the opportunity, citing the discrepancy between the two sexes in collegiate sports.
“I’m always glad to see girls have an opportunity to play college ball, especially on scholarship because a lot of girls don’t seem to get as many chances as guys do,” he said.
Baxter has been, arguably, the biggest reason the Lady Knights have back-to-back third place finishes in the North Carolina final four in the past two seasons.
She, however, always credits God, her teammates and coaches for helping her succeed.
“The Lord has helped me get through some difficult times and He’s always there for me—I can always count Him,” Baxter, who had a 4.2 GPA as junior, said Thursday.
Jim Daley, her pitching coach, along with the rest of a strong support group is partly responsible for her stellar three-year career as she enters her senior season.
“He’s (Daley) really played a big role, helping me become a better pitcher. My parents and my coaches have helped me become the person I am today,” she said.
Despite back-to-back seasons of 15-plus wins on the mound (16-8 and 18-8), Brown feels his pitcher’s best softball is in front of her.
“She started out fairly strong. I think she leveled out a little bit this last season, but after talking to her and seeing how hard she’s worked—I feel like she’s ready to step it up another notch,” Brown said.
Baxter, who posted a 1.79 ERA last season, expects a big difference between high school and college competition, but she’s looking forward to it.
“I’ll have to work harder. They expect more out of you. It’s a little more intense. In college, everybody you face will be the best,” she said.
And how does she remember the first three years of her career?
“It’s been really, really fun. I loved it and I would not trade those years for anything,” she said.
After so much individual success, Baxter wants one thing to put the icing on the cake—a state championship.
by John Mark Brooks

You must be logged in to post a comment Login