Nick Fisher plays crucial role for Linfield during its first NCAA baseball championship

Former Lakeridge standout Nick Fisher was one of the key hitters for a Linfield team that recently won a national title.In high school, Nick Fisher was known as a hard worker who generally kept his head down and did the little things to help in the rebuilding process of Lakeridge's baseball program.

Now, at Linfield College, Fisher's play has thrust him to the forefront of a powerful lineup that is fresh off its first NCAA championship in the sport.

Fisher found success quickly at Linfield, one of the top Divison III baseball programs in the country.

“I didn't get a lot of D-1 or D-2 offers, and at the D-3 level, I wanted to play for one of the best teams in the country and at a really high level of baseball,” Fisher said.

Coached by former major-leaguer Scott Brosius, Linfield's baseball program has burst onto the scene in recent years. During Fisher's sophomore campaign, the Wildcats were exceptionally talented but were shut out of the playoffs.

With a talented returning crew, the Wildcats were highly motivated and had lofty expectations to start their 2013 campaign.

However, Linfield unceremoniously dropped its first game of the season in what would be the only time all year that the team was shut out.

“It was a weird game. That pitcher would go on to be the national pitcher of the year, but we all said after the game, 'OK, now it's time to go to work,'” Fisher said.

The Wildcats then ran off a 10-game winning streak and Fisher started to recognize that the squad might be in for a special run.

After starting the year toward the bottom of the lineup, Fisher got off to a hot start and quickly found his way into the middle of the order, where he stayed for the bulk of the season, starting all 50 games.

Linfield's tear saw the Wildcats surge onto the scene where they ultimately secured the school's first No. 1 ranking.

“I knew early on we had something special just with how the team gelled and with how much talent we had. It's definitely the best team I've played on,” Fisher said.

Fisher remained a model of consistency as Linfield marched toward a postseason berth. He hit .374 on the season, fourth highest on the team, belted six home runs, second most on the squad, and stole 25 bases, also second most for Linfield.

In regionals, Linfield nearly saw its record-breaking season come to and end. In a terrific three-game series with Trinity, the teams split a pair of one-run games before Linfield won the finale 3-1 in a series where the Wildcats' bats were kept in check for the first time all season.

But, in the finals, Linfield was clicking on all cylinders. The Wildcats stormed into the championship game after going 3-1 and Fisher had a crucial double against Southern Maine, helping lead the Wildcats to a 4-1 victory.

“It was incredible. I'm still not sure it's really hit me,” Fisher said.

Since the title, Fisher has stayed busy with his summer team and is excited to enter his senior year as part of the defending champions.

He relishes his role as a leader on the team and is looking forward to the challenge now that expectations are perhaps higher than they ever have been for the program.

“I try, every season, to build on the last one. We're definitely not resting on our laurels,” Fisher said.

The ultimate goal for Fisher would be to get drafted by a major league team.

“Not many scouts give D-3 players a look but I have the confidence and know I could succeed,” Fisher said.

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