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MOUNT WASHINGTON – After roaming the outfield for the Bullitt East Lady Chargers for the past six seasons, the team’s only senior starter this season, Nikki Hinkley, recently signed to continue to her softball career at Morehead State University.
The chance to play for a Division I program was more than Hinkley could turn down. She also looked at Transylvania and Brescia, but she knew long before the signing day that she would select to play with the Lady Eagles.
“I’ve known for quite a while,” Hinkley said after making it all official in the Bullitt East Media Center in front of family, teammates and coaches. “I’ve been talking with their coach (David Williams) and in early January I went to a camp there and we talked. We kept in touch and he told me he was interested asked if I wanted to play. I said I did.”
Hinkley has actually never seen Morehead State play a game. The Lady Eagles finished this past season with a 25-24 record and were 10-14 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The team lost its last six games including two games in the OVC Tournament in Charleston, Illinois.
Morehead State’s roster of 20 players this spring included only two players from Kentucky and one of those was from Morehead.
Hinkley is a left-handed ‘slap’ hitter who was in the lead-off position for Bullitt East this spring.
“When I talked with the coach he said that they needed outfielders,” Hinkley said. “He didn’t say which of those spots, but I prefer centerfield.”
The 18-year old daughter of Missy Hinkley and Kenny Hinkley has been in the Bullitt East softball program at Bullitt East since she was a seventh-grader. Her mother (Missy Maloyed) also played softball at Bullitt East. Hinkley has a younger brother, Cameron, who is a freshman football player for Bullitt East.
At this point, Hinkley has not made a definite decision on a major in college, but she is thinking about either physical therapy or becoming a radiology technician.
Hinkley also had a key job for the Lady Chargers this spring off the field. As the team’s only senior starter, she had a big role in being a leader.
“It’s important to me that I do that because I’m a senior,” she said. “Everybody looks up to me as a role model. It’s my job that I point them in the right direction.”
Bullitt East head coach Ricky Hoffman worked with Hinkley on leadership before this season even started.
“Last year kind of groomed her for it because of all the seniors we had,” the coach said. “I was in her ear last year because I knew we would need it this year. This year it was like she had already done it.
“It’s not often you find a leader that is vocal on the field,” Hoffman pointed out. “She does it in practice and the games.”
The biggest memory for Hinkley was winning the Sixth Region title last season and advancing to the Kentucky State Tournament for the first time in school history for fast-pitch.
“Being regional champs from last year really meant a lot,” she said. “I’ll keep that memory for a long time.”
Hinkley grew up in Mount Washington and start playing softball in the Mount Washington Youth League. She played for the Louisville Stunners last summer and will play with the Stunners Elite program this coming summer.