By GARY DOVE
for the Daily Telegraph
At her young age, Mikayla Wickline certainly knows how to make a positive impression.
The James Monroe senior pitcher signed to play softball at Fairmont State University on Wednesday of this week, a dream come true to pitch in college.
Her next high school outing in the circle, on Thursday, she fired a no-hit shutout in the Class AA Region III semi-finals as her Lady Mavericks eliminated Mount View 15-0 to advance to the Regional finals next Thursday.
In fact, after issuing a base on balls to the Lady Knights’ leadoff hitter in the bottom of the first, Wickline retired the next 15 Mount View batters in order, missing a perfect game only because of that leadoff walk. She fanned 13 of the 15 outs she recorded in the contest.
After the game, she spoke of her memories on the softball diamond for the Lady Mavericks, “We’ve accomplished a lot. We’ve got past the first round of the regionals (this season) for the first time since I’ve been at James Monroe.”
The articulate righthanded hurler plans to major in chemistry and pre-pharmacy at FSU.
When asked about her career plans, she mentioned becoming a pharmacist or doing drug research as two possibilities, “I’ve also got my mind around oncology. I’m kind of undecided as far as that’s concerned.”
Concerning her decision to study and play softball at Fairmont State, she explained, “I went up for a visit. I really liked the campus and they also gave me some help with schooling as far as money is concerned. That was a plus. I really liked the school. It was kind of smaller. I really didn’t want to go to a real big school. I wanted to go close to home. I have some of my family that lives up there, so it will be real nice to be able to visit some of my family that I don’t normally get to visit.”
Softball has been the only sport Wickline has played at James Monroe.
She related, “When I was young, I decided I really wanted to focus on my goal of playing softball and playing college softball. I devoted all my time and effort into softball so I could reach that goal.”
Wickline continued, “I’m very excited to take my softball to the next level.”
To supplement her high school experience, she played summers, “I played in a travel league. I played 12U. I played 14 U and then I jumped to 18 Gold, which is where a bunch of college coaches come and scout.”
“I played in Atlanta one year and eight of the nine starters signed to big D-1 schools like Michigan. That was a great experience. I enjoyed every minute of it,” Mikayla continued.
“This summer, I plan on playing 18U, kind of local, to keep up my game for when I go to college.”
In order to get a jump on her college credits, Wickline has taken classes while in high school that will translate into college credits, such as AP Calculus.
She is one of only three seniors on the Lady Maverick team that has a 22-5 record following Thursday night’s regional victory.
Kelsie Gillespie is her battery mate as the catcher, while Jenna Hancock, also a catcher and third baseman, is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing ACL surgery the day of the Mount View game.
All five James Monroe losses this season are to Class AAA teams.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve made some friends. I’m not going to forget them. A lot of them are going up to Morgantown, so I can visit them. Some of the ones who have come up this year are freshmen and I’m going to really miss them,” remarked Wickline of her time at James Monroe, as well as teammates she currently has.
An only child, Wickline has to look no farther than her own Lindside home for coaching expertise, as her Dad, Bobby Wickline is an assistant softball coach for the Lady Mavs.
Asked if there was anything else she wanted to say, Mikayla replied, “I’d just like to thank the (JM) coaches for all their time and effort. I know it has been a struggle sometimes with me when I’ve been in a funk and I’d like to thank them in helping me succeed to my goal of playing college softball.”