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Daniel Boone senior Mikaela Ballmer didn’t want to go to a big college, she felt a small school would maker her feel more at home. Ballmer, a member of the Lady Blazers softball team, was recruited by Division 2 college Franklin Pierce University located in Rindge, New Hampshire.
Ballmer signed her letter-of-intent to play softball at Frnakline Pierce some four months before her high school softball season will officially begin. There she will major in graphic communication.
She was halppy to have this done before the softball season and now she can relax and enjoy it.
Mikaela will admit that it was a very tough process and gives a lot of credit to her mother (Pam) who stepped up to help her find the right college.
“She (Pam) has the recruiting skills and I give her a lot of credit,” said Ballmer. “It’s just hard to find what school I wanted and what I wanted to look for in the next four years. I knew that I really wanted to play softball. What I was looking for was a school my size. I like the small school.”
The team has a new coach, Christine Grenche, who has already begun to turn the program around at Franklin Pierce. Coach Grenche is young and can relate well with the players on the team according to Mikaela.
The reason Mikaela doesn’t like the bigger schools is because she was afraid that she would be just another face in the crowd. She likes the smaller setting where she would feel more at home. That’s been the same feeling she has had while at Daniel Boone High School.
There were several things that drew her to Franklin Pierce University. She sent her video to the coach who came to watch Ballmer and liked what she saw. Soon after, Mikaela made a visit to the school. She quickly noticed how small the campus was, just what she was looking for. The school is seven hours away, but she’ll be okay with that.
When she went for the official visit, Ballmer met the players on the team which went very well. She fit right into the team.
Another plus with the school was the fact that she has a chance to be a starter her freshman season. It’s far from certain, but she will have a real shot at a starting spot.
When she first started looking at colleges, Mikaela was thinking about being closer to home. However, now going seven hours away doesn’t seem that bad. She knows that she wants to move away from the Birdsboro area, so why not try it in college to see what it’s like.
Ballmer met the coach and thought that she was very nice. The coach told her that she could play as a freshman. The best players play so she has a shot at seeing significant playing time as a freshman. Ballmer’s college coach also played in college and knows what it takes to play at the college level.
“I like the coach because I can relate well with her,” Ballmer. “She was also very informative about the program. It seemed like she really wanted me to come there.”
When an athlete goes from high school to college level sports, that’s is taking a big jump, and is a big adjustment. Mikaela knows that the pitching will be a lot different and she needs to prepare herself to help get her ready.
“If I keep working on what I’m doing, work 10 times harder and keep my focus on school and softball, I’ll be okay,” said Ballmer. “I shouldn’t have a problem.”
Ballmer is neverous about the jump from high school. However, she feels it’s good to be nervous. She also knows that the people at the college level are more dedicated to the game. She will be playing against better players with more pressure to win each game. But she’ll be ready for that.
“I think if I just stay focused on what I need to accomplish, I’ll be okay,” said Ballmer. “I have to just keep working hard.”
New Daniel Boone softball coach Traci Huddleson knows that Ballmer is a student of the game and although it will be a tough transition for Mikaela, she’s willing to work hard and learn. “I think she’ll do fantastic,” said Huddleson.
The biggest thing that Ballmer has to do to step up her game is to stay focused on softball. Of course, she also knows she has to stay focused on her school work. But academics has never been a problem.
Mikaela knows that she needs to have good time management skills which is something that she doesn’t have now in high school. Ballmer is going to work hard on that now to finish out high school which will help prepare her for college.
“I think I’ll be okay by the time I get to college,” said Ballmer. “I’m there for two reasons. I’m there to get an education and to play softball.”
Huddleson feels that Ballmer will do very well at the college level. “She’s a fantastic leader in our program. I’m new to the program so I haven’t had a chance to coach her yet, but I’ve been to her games and watched her play,” said Huddleson. “I know that all of the underclassmen look up to her. I think she’s a gift to any program.”