April 2, 2004
Freshman Brooke Baker was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on March 29th after two outstanding performances in Boilermaker wins versus Indiana-Purdue- Fort Wayne and Valparaiso. In the opening game of a doubleheader against IPFW, Baker tossed a no-hitter, striking out six and walking two in seven innings. Three day later, Baker notched a one-hitter against Valpo, extending her streak of scoreless innings pitched to 30. On the week, Baker totaled a 0.00 ERA and 14 strikeouts. Coming out of Schereville, Baker is the reigning Miss Softball in Indiana. Here is how Brooke answered some of our questions about completing a no-hitter, her superstitions, and playing against the best in the Big Ten.
You recorded your first career no-hitter as a Boilermaker in the game against IPFW. At what point in a game do you start thinking that you have a no-hitter going?
Well, the rule is you're not allowed to think about it when you have a no-hitter going, but it's really hard not to. In that game, I would say the no-hitter was definitely due to good defense. Some of their players got some really sharp hits off of me, and I know Trish (Lilley, SS) made a few great plays. When you look and see that I only had six strikeouts, there was definitely some good defense.
After an outstanding high school career, were you nervous for your first collegiate start?
Actually, I really struggled in out first tournament. I came in as a fast ball pitcher, and I thought that I could just throw it by them like I did in high school. But they hit it. So when we got back, coach (Bruggeman) and I worked on hitting spots, ad slowly but surely I had more success.
What kind of pitches do you throw?
When I came in, I had a fastball, change, and rise. Now I throw fastball, change, rise, and curveball.
Which would you consider to be you 'out' pitch?
Right now, I have the most confidence in by fastball, low and inside, but my strikeout pitch is probably the rise. Although, my change has been working for me lately.
With the Conference schedule starting soon, what are you most looking forward to in Big Ten competition?
I don't really know what to expect. Obviously, I hear it's a prestigious conference and everything, especially since our first game is against Michigan. I guess I'm just looking forward to seeing the other athletes, seeing All-American players out there. It's strange to think, because last year, I was playing in high school while they were becoming All-Americans, and now I'm pitching against them. But I'm looking forward to the challenge.
As an Indiana native, when did you now that you wanted to be a Boilermaker?
I was bat girl for the Purdue team when I was 11, and I've been coming to camps here since I was 10. I'd always wanted to come here and it was all 'Purdue, Purdue, Purdue.' When the recruiting process starting, I started questioning whether or not I really did want to go to Purdue. But I decided I did because the coaches are so nice, and the team, and the atmosphere is great, and I just love the campus. So it really just came down to how comfortable I felt.
I hear that softball players can be fairly superstitious. Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
When I walk onto the field, I step on the foul line, then the pitching circle line, and then pick up the ball. It has to be in that order, every inning. Other people do it the opposite way, where they won't step on any lines, but I have to do it.
If you could play one sport, other than softball, what would it be?
Basketball, because I played when I was younger. I quit because I loved softball, but I'm so competitive and I like the contact in the sport.