GREENVILLE — Nikota Howe loves softball. She always has.
On Wednesday, Howe accomplished a childhood goal by signing a Letter of Intent to play college softball and continue her career after high school.
In front of family and friends, the senior signed to play for Lake Erie College in Ohio. Lake Erie is a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and faces schools like Grand Valley State and Ferris State Universities.
“I’m really excited. Since I started playing tee ball at the age of four, I knew I wanted to play softball in college,” Howe said. “I’m glad I get the opportunity to do so.”
Howe, a power hitting first baseman, said Lake Erie contacted her this past summer.
“They contacted me this summer. I went down there for an official visit and did like a mini tryout,” Howe said. “Afterward was when she (Lake Erie coach) called and said they had a spot on the team.”
For Howe, the decision to play in college came down to Lake Erie or Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. She chose Lake Erie.
“It’s small, but it’s really pretty,” Howe said of the school. “I really liked the class sizes and the teacher to student ratio. It’s smaller, so it’s more one-on-one.”
Last year for the Yellow Jackets, Howe hit .558 with four home runs and 28 RBI. She added 16 doubles, 12 walks and 10 stolen bases. Howe struck out just six times.
Howe has 13 home runs and 101 RBI in her three-year career. The 13 home runs are a school record.
“I am very excited for Kota. This has been a dream of hers since she walked onto our field,” Greenville coach Tom Hallock said. “She has grown tremendously. She has great hands both offensively and defensively. She can hit for power, can also bunt and run the bases very well.
“Its been a pleasure watching Nikota grow and mature over the last three years. I think she will do very well for Lake Erie and be an immediate impact player,” he added.
For her senior season, Howe has set some goals and aspects of her game to improve on.
“I plan to become a better leader. This is my second year as a varsity captain,” Howe said. “In the past I’ve been all-conference and all-district, but this year I hope to go further and maybe get all-region.
“I need to improve on hitting. I also need to get faster and become an overall well rounded athlete,” she added.
Howe plays summer softball for West Michigan Elite.