Dayton High softball ace nears her final inning
Appeal Sports Writer
DAYTON – When you listen to Nicole Greer speak, you realize instantly you aren’t listening to your normal teen-aged girl.
The Dayton High senior speaks eloquently, thoughtfully and isn’t constantly searching for words in mid-sentence or talking in slang as today’s youngsters tend to do. She has no problem getting her point across.
She has a grip on what she wants to do with her life. That in itself is a refreshing thought. Too many high school seniors enter college and have no clue what they want out of their education and life.
In the past 3 1/2 years, Greer has become one of the top pitchers in Northern Nevada in any classification, and, when her career finishes Saturday against Yerington, it’s likely she will have played her last competitive game.
Unless something drastic happens, Greer plans to attend Liberty University, a private Christian school in Virginia. She wants to study biology or pre-med.
“That (school) is what I was looking for,” Greer said. “I don’t think I’m playing again. I’m pretty sure I’m not playing.
“It’s going to be really hard. It breaks my heart to give it up; not play softball the rest of my life. I’ve got to get the rest of my life going; get serious about school.”
Greer can look back at her varsity career with pride. She threw a no-hitter as a junior and two perfect games this year (Whittell and North Tahoe). Her success made Dayton a bonafide 3A regional and state contender every year. She is only 7-10 with a 2.85 ERA this year, but that includes a 2-1 loss to Fernley and a 1-0 loss to Damonte Ranch.
“She is right up there with Jen (Dillie),” Dayton coach Dusti Houk said when asked to compare Greer with past Dayton pitchers. “She has worked extremely hard and had an outstanding season this year. She knows what I expect and gives me what I expect.”
Greer admits she doesn’t remember much about the two perfect games.
“I just threw the best I could,” Greer said. “Actually I did know that I had a perfect game going. I have a habit of keeping track what I do during the game. It was kind of cool.”
Houk wasn’t surprised by Greer’s feat. Whittell and North Tahoe aren’t very dangerous offensive teams and Houk felt that they would be no match for her hard-throwing right-hander.
“She had defensive support,” Houk said. “It wasn’t Nicole throwing a perfect game by herself in those two games. She had the defensive support she needed for that to happen.
Greer accomplished all but her top goal, which was pitching the Dust Devils to the state playoffs the last two years, and even then she pitched well enough to accomplish that, especially as a junior.
Greer, who was 12-10 with a 1.93 ERA last year, lost two heartbreaking one-run decisions to Fernley in the Northern 3A regional playoffs, including a 14-inning loss in the second game of the best of three series. In both of those games, her teammates scored exactly one run. One win out of those two games would have sent Dayton to the state tournament.
“I think I did pretty well,” Greer said. “I wish it could have turned out differently. I don’t see it as an individual thing. Yeah I pitched well, but we still lost. It doesn’t really matter what I did.”
Houk said Greer’s junior season was probably her best, even though she compiled a 17-4 record and a 1.68 ERA as a sophomore.
“She did her job,” Houk said. “We just didn’t get the key hits that Fernley did.
“I think last year she had her best year because we had the team around her to support what she did on the mound. There have been a lot of games, especially this year, where the run support isn’t what it should be.”
Houk said Greer has matured a great deal since she was called up to the varsity during her freshman season, and that added maturity has made her a better pitcher.
“When she first came up, she tried to strike everybody out,” Houk said. “She had to learn to let her defense back her up. I think she’s done a great job even at times when the defense hasn’t supported her.”
“Physically and mentally, I’ve grown,” Greer said. “I don’t let things bother me as much. I used to get so frustrated that I would have to take myself out of the game. That (poise) is the biggest thing I’ve improved.”
That and her repertoire in the circle. She throws five pitches – fastball, rise, drop, change and screwball. She very rarely uses the latter. Houk said the change is one of her best pitches.
She credits her success as a pitcher to her two pitching coaches – Del Youngblood and Dave Taylor. Youngblood, the one-time University of Nevada baseball coach, executive with the California League Reno Silver Sox and Feather River College softball coach, has worked with Greer her entire high school career.
“I haven’t seen him (Youngblood) since the season started,” Greer said. “He’s a key reason why I’m where I’m at now.”
That and a little bit of talent on Greer’s part.
n Darrell Moody can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281
The Greer File
Freshman – 2-4, 6.02 ERA, 60 strikeouts
Sophomore – 17-4, 1.68, 141 strikeouts
Junior – 12-10, 1.93, 179 strikeouts
Senior – 7-10, 2.85, 122 strikeouts