Evangel catcher Baylee Shephard, a rising senior who led the Lady Eagles to the LHSAA Class 2A state championship game this past season, has verbally committed to attend Northwestern State.
"I've been praying about the decision and narrowing down my search, and I just felt Northwestern was the place for me," Shephard said. "I wanted to stay close to home, but not too close, so NSU was a good fit."
The Lady Demons finished the season 19-31 overall and 7-13 in the Southland Conference this spring in their fourth season under Donald Pickett. Although verbal commitments aren't binding, NSU has now landed one of the top returning softball players in northwest Louisiana for the 2013 season.
"Coach Pickett said he was excited that I was coming to Natchitoches," Shephard said. "I asked him what the next step was. He said to just wait until signing day and to keep him updated on my progress."
As a junior, Shephard was the second-best hitter on coach Sherilyn Mueller's 25-6 club, hitting .370 during the regular season with a .533 slugging percentage. She racked up 30 RBIs with 21 runs scored and a home run. "Baylee is a physically gifted catcher, fundamentally sound, who hits the ball well and with power," Mueller said. "Coach Pickett recognized that she is very competitive and has a passion for the game of softball."
Shephard led the Lady Eagles with a .980 fielding percentage, while adding a team-high 12 doubles and 13 walks. She chose the Lady Demons after considering McNeese, Ouachita Baptist and ETBU.
"I'm dead set on going there," Shephard said.
Mueller said Shephard is a good student who has qualified for TOPS. "And she'll get a scholarship on top of that," Mueller said. "She's a great story of doing all the right things in the recruiting process and I feel good about the decision she's made. I couldn't be prouder of her."
Connect with Jimmy Watson on Twitter at @JimmyWatson6.