EMCC hires soft­ball as­sis­tant

Starkville Daily News - - SCORECARD -

SCOOBA – Net­tle­ton na­tive and for­mer Itawamba Com­mu­nity Col­lege and Blue Moun­tain Col­lege soft­ball stand­out Kimmy Ni­chol­son has been cho­sen East Mis­sis­sippi Com­mu­nity Col­lege's as­sis­tant soft­ball coach, as an­nounced Fri­day by first-year head soft­ball coach Austin McNair.

Ni­chol­son re­joins McNair's coach­ing staff af­ter the tandem spent the pre­vi­ous two years work­ing to­gether on Pon­to­toc High School's soft­ball staff, where the War­riors claimed the Clar­ion Ledger's Class 4A MHSAA All-Sports Award dur­ing each of the past two sea­sons to ex­tend their cur­rent streak to five con­sec­u­tive years. On the soft­ball field, the 2017 Pon­to­toc fast-pitch squad went un­de­feated in district play and 22-8 over­all en route to claim­ing the District 2-4A cham­pi­onship and ad­vanc­ing to the Class 4A North Half play­offs. The year prior, the Lady War­riors were district run­ners-up.

“I am so blessed to be pro­vided with such an amaz­ing coach­ing op­por­tu­nity at a great place like EMCC,” Ni­chol­son said. “On top of that, I get to once again coach along­side one of my great­est men­tors.”

Fol­low­ing a pro­duc­tive prep ca­reer at Net­tle­ton High School, Ni­chol­son was a four-year starter in the col­le­giate ranks split be­tween Itawamba Com­mu­nity Col­lege and Blue Moun­tain Col­lege. A .415 ca­reer hit­ter in help­ing lead for­mer ICC head coach Chad Case's Lady Indians to a pair of 28-win sea­sons, Ni­chol­son capped her Itawamba ca­reer as a third-team NJCAA All-American af­ter hit­ting .465 as a sopho­more and rank­ing tied for fourth na­tion­ally with 48 stolen bases. Along with earn­ing NJCAA Al­lRe­gion 23 and MACJC All-State hon­ors that same year, she was tabbed the MACJC North Di­vi­sion's Most Valu­able Player and Best Of­fen­sive Player.

While steal­ing bases at a 96-per­cent suc­cess rate (63 of 66) dur­ing her two sea­sons at ICC, Ni­chol­son bat­ted .368 as a fresh­man starter in the out­field and lead­off hit­ter for the Lady Indians. She also to­taled 102 runs scored and 136 hits, in­clud­ing 16 ex­tra-base hits, dur­ing her Itawamba play­ing stint.

Ni­chol­son con­tin­ued her col­le­giate ca­reer within the Mag­no­lia State as a two-time all-con­fer­ence cen­ter­fielder at Blue Moun­tain Col­lege, where she posted a .265 ca­reer bat­ting av­er­age and stole 46 bases in 50 at­tempts (92 per­cent) for coach Kevin Bare­field's Toppers. In 96 ca­reer ap­pear­ances at the NAIA level, Ni­chol­son also scored 74 ca­reer runs and had 86 hits, in­clud­ing 14 ex­tra-base hits.

Prior to ex­celling on the col­le­giate level, Ni­chol­son was a fast-pitch and slow-pitch soft­ball stand­out for coach Chris Kidd at Net­tle­ton High School. While help­ing lead the Lady Tigers to back-to-back Class 3A North Half cham­pi­onships and con­sec­u­tive Di­vi­sion 3-3A ti­tles in 2008 and 2009, Ni­chol­son capped her out­stand­ing prep ca­reer by col­lect­ing Di­vi­sion 3-3A Player of the Year hon­ors as a se­nior on Net­tle­ton's 2009 Class 3A fast-pitch state cham­pi­onship team. She also made the Daily Jour­nal's All-Area team and was se­lected as a Mis­sis­sippi As­so­ci­a­tion of Coaches All-Star af­ter hit­ting .494 with 29 stolen bases as a se­nior. The Lady Tigers also advanced to the Class 3A fast-pitch state ti­tle game dur­ing her ju­nior cam­paign.

Ni­chol­son also achieved suc­cess away from the soft­ball field dur­ing her high school days as a two-time Class 3A North Half pow­er­lift­ing cham­pion in her clas­si­fi­ca­tion. Af­ter fin­ish­ing fourth at the state meet in the 123-pound weight class as a ju­nior, she moved up to the 132-pound weight class to earn state run­ner-up hon­ors dur­ing her se­nior year.

“I am very ex­cited that coach Ni­chol­son has joined our soft­ball staff in be­com­ing a part of this great East Mis­sis­sippi Com­mu­nity Col­lege fam­ily,” McNair added. “Kimmy's pas­sion for the sport and knowl­edge of the game will make her a tre­men­dous role model and men­tor for our play­ers to follow.”

With a bach­e­lor's de­gree in bi­ol­ogy from Blue Moun­tain Col­lege, Ni­chol­son taught phys­i­cal science in ad­di­tion to her soft­ball coach­ing du­ties the past three years at Pon­to­toc High School. She was also very in­volved in com­mu­nity ser­vice work dur­ing her col­le­giate play­ing days by vis­it­ing lo­cal ele­men­tary schools to pro­mote lit­er­acy as well as vol­un­teer­ing at soft­ball camps and clin­ics.

Ni­chol­son is the daugh­ter of Darel and Jen­nifer Ni­chol­son of Net­tle­ton.

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