West softball pitcher Cook signs with St. Andrews

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By Michael Paul, Sports Editor

 West Brunswick softball pitcher Kim Cook signed a letter of intent April 24 to attend St. Andrews University.

Cook is familiar with Laurinburg, site of the university. Some family members live there and her mom is an alumna. Cook considered offers from other colleges, but finally selected St. Andrews. It fulfills a dream.

“I always wanted to play in college,” she said.

The 14-player team has four returning pitchers, two of whom are also infielders. Cook’s only position will be pitcher.

“They like my stamina, how I can go a whole game with getting tired,” she said the coaches told her.

A big adjustment to college for high school softball players is the games on weekends.

“I have thought about it,” she said. “Hopefully, I’ll be ready for it.”

West coach Joe Noble thinks Cook will be capable. He noted that Cook, nicknamed “Bulldog,“ can pitch for as long as she is asked.

“That’s why she’s been so good, that attitude, that drive—she wants the ball,” he said. “She wants to be on the mound.”

Cook is the fourth West pitcher in recent years to sign with a college. The three others are Lyn Loomis with Mars Hill, Amanda Noble with Charleston Southern and Carly White with Mount Olive.

As a sophomore, Cook succeeded White as West’s starter and has been West’s starter for three seasons. Cook said she felt no nervousness about filling White’s role.

“Not at all,” she said. “I handle pressure well.”

Noble said Cook earned the starting role.

“She really decided (after her freshman year) that she wanted to pitch,” he said. “She worked double time compared to what some of our other pitchers did, and that’s why she is where she’s at.”

Cook said the athletic scholarship was worth $11,000 and that she had received an academic scholarship worth about $7,000. She is undecided about a major.

Highlights for Cook was West’s winning the conference championship her sophomore year.

“I thought that was a big accomplishment,” she said. “We also won a tournament in Greenville my sophomore year.”

“She’s been a big reason why we have been as competitive as we have,” Noble said.

St. Andrews lost to Union College 10-3 April 22 in the first round of the Appalachian Athletic Conference championship tournament in Kingsport, Tenn. With the opening-round loss, the Lady Knights finish the season 15-29. The Knights won seven more games than they did in 2012 and had the most wins since 2009, when they finished 21-27.

Elizabeth Burris is in her seventh season as coach. In that time, the Knights have moved from last place in the conference to two straight years finishing in the top half of the annual tournament.

Prospects look good for next season, as it graduates just three seniors. Sophomore first baseman Jenn George finished the season as the Knight's top hitter (.331) and led the team in hits (40). Third baseman  Mary Cross led in runs (24), on-base percentage (.393) and walks (23). Second baseman Kelsey Lee led in RBIs (15). All three are sophomores.