TUSCALOOSA – Libby Baker says she wanted to leave “my mark” before going to the next level.
Consider it done.
Baker, who helped lead G.W. Long to 53-3 record and Class 2A state championship this season, was named Miss Softball in the state by the Alabama Sports Writers Association during its annual convention on Sunday night.
“It’s an awesome honor,” Baker said. “I feel very blessed that God has given me this great ability to do what I do.”
Baker was also named the state’s Class 2A Player of the Year and Dothan Eagle Super 12 Player of the Year earlier in the week.
The stats Baker, a Troy University signee, compiled during her senior season are remarkable.
As a senior, she hit for a .559 average and had a .637 on-base percentage with a state record 37 home runs while also driving in 101 runs – which ranks in the top 10 in state history.
She finished her career with a national and state record of 87 home runs.
Baker also scored 72 runs while hitting 12 doubles and one triple with 32 walks and only stuck out six times in 181 at-bats.
Her pitching stats were just as impressive. Baker compiled a 20-1 record with five saves as a senior. She had a 0.27 earned run average and struck out 271 in 130 innings – averaging 14.6 per game.
Baker had 16 shutouts, five no-hitters and four perfect games.
Several years ago, a travel ball coach questioned her ability. It served as motivation.
“I played for somebody that told me I wouldn’t play Division I,” Baker said. “I guess that lit a fire under me and made me really, really work hard. When I started working hard, that made me fall in love with the game.”
Her father, Phillip Baker, has helped mold her into the player she has become while serving as her pitching and hitting instructor the last couple of years.
“It’s an honor for me to be a part of this journey with her,” Phillip said. “I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
He credits Eddie Munn, a longtime softball coach in the area, for helping to develop Libby’s skills at an early age.
“He was the one who kind of taught me and Libby how to work through a lot of these things to a point to where we kind of took it over these last two or three years ourselves,” Phillip said. “He was really instrumental in building a foundation for Libby."
Libby has enjoyed having her father working with her in the sport.
“It’s been tough in certain times because he’s my dad – he wants me to play to my potential, he wants me to always be at my best," Libby said. "But it has been a lot of fun because we’ve made a lot of memories."
Delilah Baker beams with pride while talking about her daughter.
“To say that I’m proud would be an understatement, because I’ve seen how hard she’s worked and how disciplined she – how she puts in the time in the weight room and puts in the time not only in practice, but she goes back to the cages and practices more,” Delilah said.
“I’ve also watched her struggles and to see her pick herself up and have the mental fortitude to keep going forward and have that drive. She loves this sport so much. It just does my heart good to see her be rewarded for that.”
Delilah is also proud of how her daughter is thought of by others.
"Some of my proudest moments this year was being approached by several of the JV players' parents who told me how encouraging Libby had been to them and how much it meant to their kids," Delilah said. "As a mom, that was great for me."