Meet The Olympian's All-Area player of the year

Nikki Schroeder played multiple positions for the Bears, but she’ll be a full-time catcher for Long Island University

mwochnick@theolympian.comJune 13, 2013 


    P Maddy Stensby, Olympia, so.

    Hard-throwing left-hander had 180 strikeouts in 164 innings pitched with a 1.58 ERA, leading the Bears to their first state tournament appearance in nine seasons.

    P Ellie Jones, Timberline, sr.

    The 3A Narrows League pitching MVP – she had 90 strikeouts in 85 innings – also had pop in her bat. Jones hit .446.

    P Cierra Davis, North Thurston, fr.

    What a high school debut for Davis: She went 10-6, including a no-hitter against Shelton on May 9, and hit .422 with 27 hits and 27 RBI.

    C Adrianna Rupright, Olympia, so.

    Few teams dared to run on the Bears’ catcher and when they did, Rupright’s arm proved deadly. Between steal and pick-off attempts, Rupright threw out 77 percent of baserunners.

    INF Alyssa Ubrun, Tumwater, jr.

    Strong defensive shortstop who made big plays, and also had timely hits when she was pitched to. Finished the season hitting .352, leading the T-Birds to the 2A District IV tournament.

    INF Dominique Greeno, North Thurston, so.

    Hitting machine helped the Rams win the 3A Narrows League title and earn a bi-district berth with her breakout season, tallying a school-record 10 home runs and a .534 batting average.

    INF Parker Pocklington, Centralia, sr.

    The Arkansas-bound shortstop was the leader of the Tigers’ infield, and the 2A EvCo’s offensive MVP.

    INF Rebecca Nelson, Timberline, sr.

    Blazers’ third baseman also saw time as a reliever. Hit .446 with 22 RBI and also had 37 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched, helping Timberline advance to the bi-district tournament.

    OF Marissa Reynolds, W.F. West, sr.

    The Princeton-bound center fielder leaves as the school’s all-time home run leader after hitting six more this spring. She hit .511 with a 1.111 slugging percentage.

    OF Megan Bishop, Yelm, sr.

    Heart of the Tornados’ lineup and a four-year starter, the outfielder hit better than .600 the first month of the season.

    OF Kaylene Glasgo, Tumwater, jr.

    Speedy center fielder had a hot bat (.465 average) and always found a way to get on-base as the T-Birds’ leadoff hitter.

    DH Lexy Tarrow, Black Hills, so.

    Wolves’ leadoff hitter was a tough out, hitting .600 with 11 of her 34 hits going for extra bases, including five triples.

    UT Brooke Goldsmith, Elma, jr.

    The Eagles’ ace also hit for power, leading Elma to the 1A SWW Evergreen title and a Class 1A state berth. Shared league MVP honors with Montesano’s Megan Choate and Hoquiam’s Ellie Quercia.

    Player of the year: Nikki Schroeder, 1B/C, Olympia, sr.

    Coach of the year: Pat Dahl, North Thurston

Nikki Schroeder’s versatility in fastpitch was visible all four years at Olympia High School, where she played catcher, pitcher and multiple infield positions. But her multi-dimensional skills were most evident against 4A Narrows League foe South Kitsap on April 1.

Gabby Braniff, the Bears’ third baseman, tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee in the first inning while fielding a grounder. Schroeder, a team captain, huddled with her teammates in the infield while coaches attended to Braniff, and started thinking about the defensive changes the Bears needed to make.

Schroeder suggested to coach Matt Loes that she move to catcher, switching from first base, her primary position for Olympia. An in-game change to behind the plate might be extreme for some, but not for the Bears’ senior.

Schroeder, The Olympian’s All-Area fastpitch player of the year, is known for carrying two bags, three gloves and four bats worth of equipment to her games.

“A lot of people make fun of me,” she said. “I’m always the last one out.”

She’s the ultimate utility player, Loes said, explaining without hesitation that he could put the senior anywhere in the nine positions and she’d succeed.

“She’s a rarity,” Loes said.

While she primarily played first base for the Bears, who made their first Class 4A state tournament appearance in nine seasons this spring, Schroeder will be a catcher in college. She signed with Long Island University, an NCAA Division I program in the Northeast Conference.

That’s the position she feels most at home, she said, and it’s where the Blackbirds want her to play.

“I have a feeling they’re going to have a great impact on my life,” Schroeder said.

In her high school career, she played first base, shortstop, catcher and even pitcher. She played where she was needed.

“I definitely feel comfortable playing anywhere,” Schroeder said.

As for her best position? She isn’t sure, even though her first two years and part of this past season at Olympia were spent behind the plate.

So why didn’t Schroeder play full-time catcher for the Bears?

The team had another high-quality catcher — sophomore Adrianna Rupright. Also, having Schroeder play first base made for a stronger defense behind sophomore pitcher Maddy Stensby.

“It worked well for us,” assistant coach Randy Edwards said.

Edwards said Schroeder not only has a strong arm and good defensive skills, but she has a knack for reading game situations. In 220 fielding chances, she committed one error.

“She’s got really good hands,” Loes said. “She can usually catch anything that’s near her or thrown near her.”

Her defensive skills were just as prominent as Schroeder’s bat. She hit .392 with 31 hits and 26 RBI, all team-highs. She was an opposing pitcher’s nightmare, striking out twice in 90 at-bats.

Not known for the long ball, Schroeder hit a school-record five homers. In four seasons, she had a career .391 batting average with 101 RBI.

She will join an LIU team that defeated then-No. 14-ranked Michigan, which later reached the Women’s College World Series.

“I’m really stoked for college,” Schroeder said. “I’ve dreamed of playing D-I, and I’m going to do it.”

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 @MegWochnick

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