Dayton’s Cole signs with Boise State
DAYTON – Mackenzie Cole, the flame-throwing right-hander who has dominated the Northern 3A softball scene for the past three years, has signed a national letter of intent to play for Boise State University.
Cole, a 4.3 student, was interested in several schools, including Princeton, Penn, Stanford, Nevada and Boise State.
“I really liked Boise’s campus,” said Cole, who was sporting a Boise State shirt for the interview. “It felt homey and right. I liked everything about the program.
“It’s a new program and they don’t have any seniors so everybody that showed me around I’ll be playing with next year. They have been interested in me since I was 16.”
Cole said when she visited Boise State the ESPN College Gameday with Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard was in town.
“It was wild,” Cole said.
Cole said the Ivy League schools fell out of the running recently. Cole scored 1700 on her SAT, but Penn required 1800 and Princeton wanted a 1900.
Cole attended a camp at Stanford and asked a couple of the players what they did in their free time.
When one of the players said “what free time,” Cole knew that her decision would be Boise State.
“I want to have the college experience, and I know at Boise I can have that,” Cole said.
And, Boise’s location is perfect. It’s far enough away that she can venture out on her own, and it’s close enough (an hour by plan) that her parents will be able to see her pitch often.
“My parents (Dave and Mary) have done so much for me, getting me to practices and tournaments wherever they are,” Cole said. “This is my way of paying them back. This is a dream come true.”
Her only regret going to Boise State is that Brianne McGowan, the ex-Wooster great, has left the Boise State staff and had returned to Reno and won’t work with Cole at BSU. However, Cole is currently taking pitching lessons from McGowan.
“We are very excited to have Kenzie joining our team next season,” BSU head coach Erin Thorpe said. “Kenzie will be a much-welcomed addition in the circle and we feel her ability will help her step in and compete right away.”
One of her former coaches, Dan McCarthy, who coached Cole when she was on the Sorcerers’ U-16 team, was pleased to see one of his former players move up to Division I.
“She’s a great young lady and a real hard worker,” said McCarthy, who said that Cole pitched with the team in the fall of 2008 and the summer of 2009. “When she first came to us she was our fourth pitcher and she was hurt so she was pretty much out of commission.
“She came back strong and worked very hard to eventually be our No. 1 pitcher.”
Cole is arguably the top pitcher in Northern Nevada regardless of classification.
As a junior, Cole again led Dayton to the state finals against Boulder City. She went 16-6 in the circle and led the state with a season ERA of 0.04. Cole set a state record for strikeouts in a game with 24 in a 15-inning affair. Her 297 strikeouts in 2010 rank third all-time in Nevada high school history, just behind McGowan. Cole earned first team all-region and all-state accolades, and was named Pitcher of the Year. She also batted .459 with 13 extra-base hits and 15 RBI.
Cole compiled a 13-6 record as a freshman for former coach Dusti Houk en route to winning 3A MVP and state Player of the Year honors. Dayton lost in the state finals to Fernley. She had a 1.69 ERA and hit .411 with 19 RBI. As a sophomore, Cole was bothered by injuries, but still limited opponents to a .137 batting average in limited mound opportunities. She also hit .311.
“She is a stellar athlete in the sense of being an all-around athlete,” Houk said. “She handled herself very well; a class act.”
Cole said she is unsure of her major at Boise, but that she is interested in sports psychology and sports management.