By Tom Mauldin - 8/27/2019
Eastern Oregon University newly-appointed head coach Nicole Christian is the first of three state directors as Fastpitch Northwest is expanding with a goal of giving more opportunities for Northwest softball players to display their ability and character in front of college coaches with the hope of playing at the next level.
Christian, a former All-American player at EOU, will be the Oregon state director for Fastpitch NW. State directors for Idaho and Washington will be named within the next few weeks said Mike Brooks, who just completed his first year as director of the Centralia based organization.
Brooks said adding state directors was just a natural progression as the organization enters its 11th year and is developing new ways to expand.
“State Directors will be focused on becoming intimately familiar with the softball community and landscape within their state.,” said Brooks, a former professional baseball player. “They will be able to hold more Prospect Evaluation Camps offering more complete coverage in order to provide more opportunities for girls wishing to participate.”
Fastpitch NW hosted 13 PECs in 2019. Brooks did not confirm a proposed number of PECs, but hinted the goal for 2020 is to more than double opportunities for prospective college softball players. And that will add to more teams, more games and more expansion for the 2020 College Exposure Tournament.
“Next year our goal is to have a separate event for each grad class (2021, 2022, 2023, 2024) at the Championships,” said Brooks. “Directors will be responsible for evaluating and assembling the teams representing their state and overseeing their state teams at the Championships.”
Christian said she was very excited about her role as Oregon director. She said her softball background will enable her to network with coaches of all levels throughout Oregon.
“I plan on working with Junior College coaches and high school coaches in Oregon,” said Christian. “I want to give these girls a chance to be seen and my using my connections from high school and junior coaches I want to build up Oregon.
“This is a great opportunity for young athletes to showcase their talent and I look forward to being a part of the staff,” she added.
Brooks noted that (state) directors will come up with their own schedule to complete coverage of their state between early June and mid July.
He added that as in the past, there could easily be multiple PECs happening on the same day. Directors may also offer off-season evaluations during winter months if facilities are available.
For Christian, the 2019 College Exposure Tournament was her first tournament attending as a college coach, but she is no stranger to Fastpitch NW as many of her former Mac-Hi players participated in the event.
“Attending my first Fastitch Northwest tournament I saw a lot of great things,” said Christian, who prior to EOU coached at McGlaughlin High School in Milton-Freetown (OR). “I loved seeing college coaches attending the tournament. The parents were great as well. Many came up and asked questions while I was there.”