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HC’s Creech signs with Cumberlands

Heading into her fifth season as the center fielder for the Harlan County Lady Bears, Nikki Creech has played an important role for one of the region’s most successful programs.

Creech already owns school records for stolen bases and runs scored out of the leadoff spot in the HCHS order. She hopes to eventually play a similar role on the next level. She signed Friday to continue her softball career next spring at the University of the Cumberlands.

“It’s close to home and I liked their campus. I think it will be a good place to be,” Creech said. “I think as long as I go down there and prove myself to the coaches I can work my way into.a similar role that I’ve had in high school.”

Creech’s role in high school has been as the catalyst at the top of the lineup and the defensive leader as one of the 13th Region’s top outfielders.

“She has been a mainstay in center field for us. She has a great arm and speed,” Harlan County coach Tim McElyea said. “I could see playing that same role on the next level.”

Creech hit .344 last season with 32 hits and 26 stolen bases. She was slowed by injuries as a sophomore but still hit .500 with 17 hits. She had her best season as a freshman with a .486 average on 52 hits with 20 stolen bases.

“She is a great base runner with good speed and instincts,” McElyea said. “She got things going for us offensively so many times over the past four years. She is also a great bunter, so she is a perfect leadoff hitter.”

The Cumberlands coaching staff was impressed by Creech’s speed and athleticism.

“She is a great player and we’re excited to have her at the Cumberlands,” assistant coach Elisa Mauldin said. “We’re rebuilding and we’re excited to have Nikki be a part of that. We are looking for some more speed in our lineup, and we think Nikki can give us that.”

Creech has enjoyed her years with the Lady Bears and is ready for a new challenge after she completes her senior season this spring.

“I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot here and I believe I’m ready to move to the next step,” she said.