Blake Vick signs wth NCCU

Apr. 22—HENDERSON — Vance County's ace and power-slugger, Blake Vick, officially announced her college commitment to play softball at North Carolina Central University on Friday before a home bout against Louisburg.

The four-year Viper saw support from her family who showed out repping maroon-colored "Team Blake" T-shirts. Vick's grandfather, pitching coach and Vance County coach Sheila Gill all shared a few words celebrating Vick's young career.

"It's bittersweet," said Gill after the Louisburg game. "You know, four years with her, she's going to a great school to do what she loves, but you hate to see her go. She came in and changed the program."

Vick will be the first Division I athlete Gill has ever coached. Vick was voted conference Pitcher of the Year and Vance County's MVP for the last three years. According to her coach, Vick tossed so many no-hitters in her high school career she lost count.

Vick says she is going to be following in her mama's footsteps when she sets foot on campus for her first semester at NCCU.

The coaching staff at NCCU has already told Vick that she would be batting and pitching for the Eagles next year. A slugger with out-of-the-park power, Vick will be working on slimming down and training for that next level of competition. She joked that she wanted junior Yanira "Red" Hamrick to come with her as her pinch runner.

In anticipation of her Division I softball career, Vick has been putting in work outside of practice time to get right — including in extra hours exercising outside and at the gym to maximize her full capabilities.

"I've been conditioning and losing some [pounds] too," said Vick. "You gotta be fit to go play at a D1 college — or any college — and hang with the rest of them."

Vick has already hit multiple home runs this year, including a grand slam against Granville Central early in the season. Now with the opportunity to advance her athletic career and earn a degree at a prestigious HBCU, Vick said playing with her new college teammates the most exciting.

Coming from a predominantly Black county to a historically Black university, Vick said attending an HBCU was a "very important" part of her college decision.

"As a Black pitcher, there's not many of us," said Vick. "So coming from a mostly African-American team, it makes me feel like I'm part of it. I'm pushing myself to be one of those pitchers on top that's colored, because we don't have many."