NCHS’s Robinson combo sticks together making college softball choices

COLLEGE-BOUND LADY CHIEFS:  Cousins Desi (at left) and Maddie Robinson signed scholarship papers Sunday afternoon to compete at Baton Rouge Community College for the next two seasons, after they graduate from NCHS this spring.

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Desi and Maddie Robinson have been pivotal figures in the recent success of the Natchitoches Central High School softball team, which has emerged as one of the best in the state’s Class 5A ranks in the past three seasons and expects to fit that profile again this spring.

So as they contemplated their college choices, one thing made a lot of sense.

Continuing to team up.

Sunday afternoon in a ceremony well attended by family, friends, NCHS teammates and coaches at one of the pavilions in Parc Natchitoches, the cousins made it official: they will graduate this spring, then head to Baton Rouge Community College for their studies and the next two seasons of softball.

“It’s really exciting knowing I get to stay with her at the next level,” said Maddie Robinson.

They’re not twin sisters, but both will have the same major, kinesiology, with a plan to go into physical therapy as a career. And there’s a reasonable possibility they will make a very convenient move from the BRCC campus to adjacent Southern University for their last two years of college softball and to continue their academic pursuits. But first things first.

Sunday was about celebrating the opportunities they’ve earned, emphasized NCHS coach Ronnie Abels.

“It’s not about us, it’s not about Natchitoches Central softball. It’s a great day for NCHS softball but it’s an even more special day for these two right here. We couldn’t have had the success we’ve had without these two,” said Abels, who has had five Lady Chiefs sign college scholarships. “What is happening today is a testament to them.”

Both have abundant honors and statistics that any prep softball player would be happy to have on her resume.

Maddie has been the District 1-5A MVP the last two years as a dominating pitcher. Desi stands behind her, in centerfield, providing tremendous range on defense and a big bat at the plate, hammering home runs and extra base hits while collecting her own all-district accolades.

Each began playing softball at age 4. They first teamed up 3-4 years later in All-Stars competition, then travel ball, and for the past three years, with the Lady Chiefs. Each shares the same focus: academics and softball.

What drove their decision? Desi said visiting BRCC was the key.

“We found a love for the school, the coaches, the softball program,” she said.

Both soft-spoken girls shared the same grateful sentiments in brief remarks before they signed their scholarship papers.

“We’re really excited and thankful for everyone who came out to support, and everybody who helped us get to where we are today: our coaches, teammates, parents and family, and the community,” said Maddie.

The Lady Chiefs’ accomplishments in their careers, and their own credentials, helped make them the center of attention for BRCC and other two- and four-year college softball programs.

Last spring while earning first team Class 5A All-State honors, Maddie Robinson batted .447 with a .557 on-base percentage and a stout .894 slugging percentage. She was second among the Lady Chiefs in hits (46), doubles (12), triples (3) and home runs (8). She collected 35 RBI while drawing 23 walks. She fielded .929.

In the pitching circle, Robinson was overwhelming. She finished 16-6 and notched a save, holding opposing hitters to a .188 batting average while posting a 2.12 ERA. She averaged 9.6 strikeouts per game, sitting down 216 batters of the 680 she faced in 158 innings.

Desi Robinson, who has also played first base, last season was honorable mention All-State and a repeat All-District selection. She owned a .428 batting average, got on base 52 percent of the time, and slugged .880. She topped NCHS in triples (7) and home runs (11), along with runs scored (51), and was second in hits (48), RBI (41) and walks drawn (14). With the glove, she fielded .992.