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Metro State center fielder Kellie Nishikida takes off from second base during the first inning in game against the Colorado School of Mines on April 2 in Golden. Metro won the game 10-1. (Photo by Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com)


Quiet Kellie Nishikida carries big bat for Metro State softball

Soft-spoken 23-year-old senior from Hawaii helps lead Roadrunners to strong start in 2010 season

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Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com

Metro State center fielder throws the ball in the first inning in game against the Colorado School of Mines on April 2 in Golden. Metro won the game 10-1.

Kellie Nishikida's 2010 stats

Position: Center fielder

Born: June 17, 1986

Hometown: Pearl City, Hawaii

Height: 5'6"

Bats/Throws: L/L

High School: Pearl City H.S.

DENVER – Metropolitan State College of Denver center fielder Kellie Nishikida may speak softly, but she carries a big stick.


At first glance the 23-year-old comes off as shy and soft-spoken, but, boy, does she have a big bite once she's on the softball field. Last year Nishikida was named a Division II Daktronics second-team All-American after hitting .407 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs. She amassed a 39-game-hitting streak, tying the NCAA record. While her numbers are slightly down this year (.337, 4, 17), she is still a driving force behind 10th-ranked Metro State's torrid 24-3 start.


"She's just a skinny little thing," Head Coach Jen Fisher said with a laugh, "and you wouldn't know it, but she's so quick with her bat that it gives her power."


As one of the five seniors on the team, Nishikida has emerged as one of the squad's leaders, Fisher said.


"She seems really shy on the outside, but once you get to know her, she's really funny," she said. " ... She's definitely a quiet leader – really leads by example."


And lead by example, she does. Nishikida is one of the faster players on the Roadrunners' roster, leading the team with 11 stolen bases. Her quickness was certainly evident in the series opener against the Colorado School of Mines on April 2 when she exploded from the batter's box and turned a bloop single into shallow left-center field into a double.


"If she doesn't hit one quite as square, that's OK, too, because she's so fast she can beat it out," Fisher said.


Kellie was born the oldest child to Mike and Debra Nishikida in Pearl City, Hawaii – a town of 30,000 people that is approximately 20 minutes northwest of Honolulu. There she would receive her first exposure to softball.


"My friend played it in the third grade and ... my parents would try to sign me up for sports, but I was too shy," she said. "So my friend started playing and she was like, 'you should play.'


"I played in fourth grade and I've been playing ever since."


Nishikida had a natural feel for the game and was a three-time first-team all-conference selection at Pearl City High School. She spent two years playing for Hawaii Pacific University where she was named a first-team all-Pacific West selection in 2005.


Although Nishikida was content in her home state – a place she plans on returning to next year – she said she came out to Colorado because of her younger sister, Corrie.


"My sister got recruited by coach Fisher and I said, 'wouldn't it be funny if we played together again?'" Nishikida said. "And she's like, 'I'm going to talk to coach. I think she needs an outfielder.'


"I didn't think she was serious, but she's said, 'coach says you should come to Colorado.'"


In 2009 the Nishikida sisters provided a Hawaiian punch to Metro State's lineup as the team finished with a 40-12 record, winning the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship and getting a berth in the NCAA tournament. Even though Corrie took time off from softball this year, Kellie believes the team remains just as formidable with its returning players.


"The only person we lost was my sister Corrie – we're just as strong, if not stronger," she said.


The 'Runners have 16 regular season games remaining and sit comfortably atop the RMAC standings. But, Nishikida said, that doesn't mean her team can become complacent.


"We have a big target on our backs since we're ranked," Nishikida said. "And everyone wants to beat us, so they come with their A-game. So we have to be on our A-game all the time."

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