Versatile Ramirez to play softball at North Platte CC
     2015-02-05      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Terry Gaston/Gering Citizen - Scottsbluff senior Lourdes “Lou” Ramirez (seated at left) joins Bearcat softball coach Michael Gentry (seated at right) and North Platte Community College softball coach Janelle Higgins (standing) after Ramirez signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at NPCC during a ceremony in the SHS board room on Jan. 31. 
Scottsbluff High School senior Lourdes “Lou” Ramirez, an integral and versatile part of the Bearcat softball teams the past two seasons, was planning to complete her playing career this summer as part of a 23 Club team before she begins college in the fall.

After attending a softball camp at North Platte Community College on Jan. 17, however, Ramirez said her love for softball was rekindled.
And on Saturday, Jan. 31, Ramirez committed her next two years of education and extending her softball career by signing a National Letter of Intent with North Platte Community College.

At a ceremony in the Scottsbluff High board room, Ramirez said she was sold on NPCC very quickly during her camp participation and campus visit.

“It’s pretty exciting that I get to go play softball,” said Ramirez said, who also has played summer ball for the Torrington-based Twisters and was part of the 16-under team that in 2013 went 82-9-1 and played in two national tournaments.

“I really wasn’t expecting to, but Coach (Janelle) Higgins got a hold of (SHS) Coach (Michael) Gentry and asked about us. I went to a camp, and I really liked it and I really love the campus, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Ramirez, who is planning to study early child development, was going to attend Western Nebraska Community College next fall.
Her destination and plans changed after that camp at North Platte, however.

“The opportunity came up and I took it,” Ramirez said of continuing her softball career at the collegiate level. “To further it just makes me really happy.”

In 29 games for the Bearcats last fall, Ramirez batted .437, with 38 hits including nine doubles and four triples. She scored 27 runs and had 18 runs batted in and earned honorable mention to the All-Western Conference Team.

“She’s just a very dynamic player and really took hold of that leadoff spot for us this past year,” Gentry said. “She battled through a couple injuries and we just weren’t same without her. At that leadoff spot, she just made us click, and she’s just a great player and we’re really glad she has this opportunity.”

While remaining consistently as Scottsbluff’s leadoff hitter, Ramirez was primarily an outfielder but proved versatile in playing other positions when needed.

“Lou is just a really hard worker, and her passion – she just plays really hard. She’s one of those kids you can pretty much just put her on the field,” said Gentry, who coached Scottsbluff to a 15-17 record in his second season in the fall – an improvement from his first year of 7-21.

“As much as sometimes where she didn’t like to, if we had somebody go down, she’s very versatile to where we could plug her at any different position. I think she played some short this year, some third, some first base, and we played around with her catching her junior year a little bit.

“Her hard work and dedication is one thing that just sets her apart,” Gentry added. “She really got into our new weight program, and even though she’s not going to continue with the high school, she’s still going to come to weights and conditioning (this summer).”
Higgins is entering her fifth season at North Platte, which plays at the NJCAA Division II level in women’s sports. The Knights were 10-21 last season, and Higgins said she has five returnees along with nine freshmen entering the spring campaign.

“We lose a couple very instrumental outfielders after this season, so we’re definitely looking for somebody to be able to come in and help us out in the outfield but also be that utility player,” Higgins said of Ramirez’s potential for NPCC.

“At the college level, you’re never just an outfielder or just an infielder. Just really having the capability of going out and playing a different spot, and maybe halfway through the game be put somewhere else” is in Ramirez’s favor, Higgins added.
Higgins said Ramirez was a standout at the Jan. 17 camp with her work ethic.

“You don’t get to see a whole lot during camps, just because there are so many kids,” she said. “But when a kid can stand out to you in a camp, it shows you that they’re there to prove that they want to play, and she took the time to stick around afterwards and do the tour and liked the campus.”

“I think she will be able to really step in and help us out. She’s just one of those kids who wants to work hard and play softball.”

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