Freshman Catcher Nicole Loudin is Quickly Becoming One of the OAC's Top Hitters
By Sports Information Student Assistant Christina Capadona
BEREA, OHIO - When collegeís all over the country were recruiting Nicole Loudin to play softball, she never believed that close to home would be where she belonged. After spending one semester at Division I Bucknell College in Pennsylvania, Loudin decided to make the move back to Northern Ohio to attend Baldwin Wallace University.
"I just wasnít happy with all aspects of the college I chose," said Loudin. "The coaches painted an entirely different picture for me than what I experienced when I lived there. Coming to BW has been the best decision of my life."
A Sheffield Lake native and Elyria Catholic graduate, familiar surroundings have yielded familiar success on the field for Loudin.
As a freshman catcher, Loudin has made an immediate impact on the Yellow Jacket softball team and opened some eyes in the Ohio Athletic Conference. For her efforts at the plate during the week of April 14, Loudin was named OAC Hitter of the Week. She currently leads the team with a .405 batting average, 45 hits in 111 at bats. She leads the team in RBI with 39. She also has nine homeruns, one triple and six doubles. Currently, Loudin is one homerun behind NCAA all-divisions, all-time career homerun leader, Mandi Carnes of OAC rival Muskingum College.
"My first goal was to break the BW record for homeruns in a season," said Loudin. "From here I can set my sights higher to become an All-American as well as homerun leader in the NCAA."
On April 17, 2003, in Ada, Ohio, Loudin set the BW single-season record for homeruns with her ninth as she won the game for the Yellow Jackets against nationally-ranked Ohio Northern University, 5-2.
Breaking records is not something new to Loudin. She has four Ohio High School Athletic Association state records, including 10 homeruns in a single-season, five consecutive games with a homerun, 22 career homeruns and a .540 career batting average.
During high school, Loudin earned seven varsity letters, four in softball and three in basketball. She also played volleyball for two years. As a sophomore, junior and senior, Loudin was named first-team All-Lorain County. She was also the North Coast League Most Valuable Player as a junior, and first-team All-District and second-team All-State as a senior.
Before coming to college, Loudin primarily played shortstop, catching occasionally for her summer travel team, the Ohio Emeralds.
"Catching is my second position," said Loudin. "However, Iíve grown to love it. Itís a great feeling being in control of the game, getting girls to strike out and also catching people trying to steal."
As catcher, Loudin has thrown out seven-of-ten stolen base attempts by opponents. As a baserunner, Loudin has stolen a team-leading seven bases in seven attempts for a 1.000 stolen base percentage. Her versatility as a player to perform many roles has made her a mainstay both on offense and defense.
Aside from softball, Loudin is also an excellent student with strong academic ambition.
"The biggest difference between Division I athletics and Division III athletics is the emphasis on academics," said Loudin. "At Bucknell, my entire schedule was based on practice times and was practically picked for me. Here at BW, I have the time and support to be the best student I can be. I have goals of achieving academic honors here at BW along with softball. My decision has worked out for me in so many ways."
Another person happy with Nicoleís decision to move back home was her mother, and number one fan, Dr. Maureen Loudin. Dr. Loudin has been an education professor at BW for the past five years, teaching many BW softball players. A former high school cheerleader, Dr. Loudin has attended virtually every game this season, watching and cheering from her trendy American-flag designed portable chair.
"My momís my biggest fan and the most influential person in my life," said Nicole. "She has worked unbelievably hard, raising my brother and I, taking care of our family, teaching, working and achieving her master and doctoral degrees. My father, David Loudin, was also a Division II football player in college. My family inspires me to be the best I can."
Loudin is currently a psychology major and athletic coaching minor. After graduate school, she would like to become a sports psychologist for a professional team, as well as a softball coach.
"I realize I have a long road ahead of me to reach my goals," said Loudin. "I do know that softball and sports will always be part of my life, and I especially want to, through coaching, give back to the sport that has brought me to where I am today."
"The accomplishments and experiences I have today will ultimately set the stage for the rest of my life."
For Loudin, thereís no better time than the present.
*** Sports Information Directorís note to the readers: Christina Capadona is also a member of the Yellow Jacket softball team and is a junior communications major from North Royalton, Ohio.