BAKER — Macie Wilde, a senior on the Baker softball team, has dreamed of playing softball at the college level for as long as she can remember. Thursday that dream came true when she signed scholarship papers to play for Delta State University, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II school in Cleveland, Miss.
The Statesmen play in the Gulf South Conference, the same conference as West Florida and finished last year with a 29-31 record.
“I’ve been dreaming of this since I was little watching softball on TV,” she said. “It was like, ‘I want to be that girl pitching. I want to be that girl hitting.’
“And now my dream is coming true and I’ll be playing at the next level.”
Gator softball coach John Carlisle was all smiles as he spoke of what Wilde’s signing.
“It’s a great accomplishment for her,” he said. “It’s a culmination of a lot of years and hard work that she has put in, not only with us here, but outside of school.
“I’ve been fortunate and honored to coach her since she was in the sixth grade and I’ve kind of watched her grow up and watched her skills improved. I’m very excited for her, happy for her and proud of her.”
Wilde said she looked at Northwest Florida State and Faulkner State in Montgomery, Ala., but in the end the decision to attend Delta State was an easy one.
“I just liked the community there and the people there,” she said. I was looking at education mostly, but I was also looking at the sports and how they were doing.”
One of the components that went into Wilde’s decision was the fact that Delta State is far enough from Baker that she will be able to get the full college experience of being away from home.
On the field, Wilde has a wide range of skills that should allow her to step in and be successful early.
She’s a left-handed pitcher and she also can play the outfield and first base.
As a junior her pitching was limited as she recovered from shoulder surgery, but that didn’t stop her from swinging the bat at close to a .370 clip. Equally impressive was the fact that she only struck out twice last season and had an on-base percentage of close to .700.
Carlisle said all those things should help Wilde succeed at Delta State.
“I really think it’s going to be a good fit, not only for her, but for Delta State,” he said. She is a very accomplished player. Offensively, she has a lot of dynamics to her game.
“She swings it well. She runs well. She is very multi-faceted in the fact that she can pitch, play any of the outfield positions and she can play first base for them.”
Wilde said Delta State plans on using her primarily as a pitcher, but she also expects to see some time in the outfield.
Between now and the time she leaves for Cleveland there is one last high school season to play and plenty of work to do.
“I definitely need to work on pitching still,” Wilde said. “It’s not just like a walk in the park. So for softball I would have to say I have to work on all the basics and everything.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524