With a long ball hit Friday, an Oregon college softball player has now tied the NAIA record for career home runs.
Stephanie Nippert, a Corban University senior, hit No. 76 against Southern Oregon University. She also holds the Oregon collegiate career record.
It comes after a season in which she broke the Oregon collegiate career home run record and also faced intentional walks, sometimes through entire games.
The intentional walks, said Nippert, can be frustrating.
"But you know what, I'm on base. My team can make up the slack, obviously," said Nippert.
Nippert said she tries not to focus on the records when she's batting.
"Well it's pretty easy when you get walked intentionally," she laughed. "I try to have a good attitude. Obviously, God. I pray a lot and he gives me the strength to calm my nerves. I mean, I just think he's got a plan, and if it's his plan for that to happen, it will happen."
While her prowess in the batter's box is getting the most attention, her coach said Nippert also stands out because of her work ethic and humble personality.
"We're real blessed. We don't take it for granted," said Nathan Ohta, Corban University softball coach. "I've said for four years, I could coach another 50 years and never coach another player like her."
The three-time All-American center fielder is playing first base this season.
"I called her this summer and said we need to move you the infield cause we need to get another outfielder in the lineup," said Ohta. "She put in the work over the summer on her own and came back as a pretty good first baseman, one of the best in the conference, if not the country."
Nippert grew up playing sports in Rocklin, CA. Her athleticism was evident early.
"Somebody asked me that a couple of weeks ago, ‘How did you know she was going to be an athlete?' I said, ‘When she walked at eight months,'" said her mother, Kathie Nippert. "Not just crawled. Walked at eight months."
Stephanie Nippert will graduate this spring with a degree in physical education. She plans to become a PE teacher. This summer, she's getting married to a Corban University baseball player she met at school.
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