Senior senator hits in a pinch

Ben Fitch

Pitcher Nicole Perkuhn, before the start of her senior year, had made 32 career appearances with 13 starts. And she loves to hit.

“You have to have offense in order to win a game,” said Perkuhn. “I love it when it’s like—this hit is going to win or lose the game.”

And she has loved it since she played for Washburn Rural where she was named the Junior Blues’ most valuable player as a junior and best offensive player as a senior. Her freshman year, the team made it to state and went undefeated her senior year. Currently, Perkuhn is a double major in physical therapy and marketing. 

Eager to face her high school teammates, Perkuhn is looking forward to the matchup with Emporia State April 18. Until then, however, she will be pinch hitting for the Blues against the MIAA standards such as Missouri Western, Truman, Northwest Missouri, Nebraska-Omaha, Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern.

“She has added depth to our pitching,” said coach Lisa Carey. “She’s an all-around great kid—a leader in the dugout and on the field. She is always positive.”

Perkuhn said pitching spurred her love for the game, which she referred to as “pitcher stress.”

“Every pitch determines what is going to happen,” said Perkuhn.

But Perkuhn hasn’t seen the mound for a while, and she is okay with that.

“I’m a coach’s player,” she said, “if the coach wants me to be a cheerleader, then that’s what I will do.”

While pitching revealed Perkuhn’s affection for softball, she said she owes her introduction to the sport to her father, who recognized her skill early on.

“I have been playing since I was a little girl,” she said, “I played outfield, first base, then my dad told me if I could hit, a coach would find a place for me.”

And Perkuhn has a 50 percent batting average. Also, she is a senator in student government. She serves as chair of the Spirit Committee and said her main job is to engage students. Her committee works to get students at athletic events, speaker events and so on. Perkuhn said the main strategy is to get the committee involved, which then leads as an example. This is her second semester as a senator and next year she plans to hold an executive position with WSGA. As of now, her participation in student government accounts for 20 hours a week; that coupled with softball keeps Perkuhn busy.

“I love being a senator,” she said. “I’m actually one of least political people out there, but Garrett and Caley encouraged me. Now I really feel like I’m a part of Washburn.”

After she graduates, Perkuhn plans to keep softball in her life—possibly coaching.

“I can see me coaching my old high school team, or helping the team out here at Washburn,” she said.

And she loves her team.

“I just want to say thank you to each and every one of them,” she said. “Each of them has had a different part in my college career. They are a great group of girls, and we will be together through thick and thin. They have made me into who I am. You’re a team now and a team forever.”