Ever since she was little, Coppell junior Michaella Baker was preparing and molding herself into where she sits now.
Growing up, Baker was raised with discipline and dedication — two things instilled as far back as she could remember. They’ll helped Baker work her way to not only a key contributor at a 6A program, but she is now on her way to college in a little over a year after announcing her commitment to Odessa College, a junior college just over five hours away from Coppell.
"It’s nice knowing that, especially during times like this where we can’t even get out and play in front of the coaches, that I know that I have a place to go and that I don’t have to worry about getting recruited the next year and a half,” Baker said.
Baker credits her upbringing for helping her reach the opportunity she was given to continue her softball career at least another couple of years.
Watching TV for extended periods of time wasn’t an option as a child. Instead, it was all about getting out and working hard, understanding just what a tremendous work ethic can reward you with someday.
“My parents pushed me since I was little,” Baker said. “They never really wanted to let us sit around in our bedroom all day and watch Netflix or TV. And so I think that started, and then just me wanting to push myself to get better and to improve and get time on the field and that I earned it and that I wasn’t just given it.”
A player for roughly 11 years since she was 5 years old, that work ethic only continued to lift Baker to new heights on the diamond.
The break from sports and being with her team personifies who she is, showing that a break from sports and being with her team won’t stop her from perfecting her craft and improving in any way that she can. Her pitching coach recently sent her workouts that are 20-40 minutes of nonstop work per day, and she then pitches for 30-45 minutes every day, hits for 30 minutes and then goes on a three-mile run with her brother.
“She spends a lot of time hitting and pitching and running,” said Mike Dyson, Coppell head coach. “There’s not a time, even when I’m understanding during this period of the virus, where not she’s putting in a lot of time into it on her own. Even if it’s virtual with her pitching coach, who she goes to once a week. I think that’s what will carry her. I think the work ethic will help her when she goes to college.”
The results from her work have not only benefitted her, but they have been key for a Cowgirls squad that was hitting its stride at just the right time before the UIL suspended all athletic activities and the state closed schools.
Coppell had won three in a row and was doing so in dominant fashion. It scored 13-plus runs in two of those games – including 18 in an 18-0 drubbing of Irving MacArthur in the District 6-6A opener – and outscored those opponents 38-7.
“I feel like we were more together as a team,” Baker said. “We felt more team unity, and we were actually really strong. We came out of tournament season and we were prepared for district. We thought we were going to go far, but the virus stopped it. We’re hoping we come back stronger and better than we were.”
Whether or not Baker and the Cowgirls get the chance to finish their season, she is grateful for everyone who helped get her to this place. In just over a year, she will venture off to play junior college softball and hopefully land a spot at a Division I program after that.
There, she will be near more family, making it feel just like home even if it is a drive that spans more than five hours. Her uncle works at the school. The academic part fit right in with what she wanted. And the coaching staff, led by head coach Jeff Jackson and recruiting coordinator Melanie Jaegers, sold her with their message that they would get her better and do everything they could to help her reach those Division I aspirations.
It’s all about family, who she can’t help but thank for instilling that work ethic in her and making this dream become a reality.
“There were times where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m so done,’” Baker said. “And they were like, ‘No. It’s hard times and you’re going to get through it.’ Without them I don’t think I would be where I am now.”