Pamala Baber was competing against Division I college caliber softball players at age 14 and as a senior this year at Carter High School has earned a full scholarship to play next year at the University of Texas-El Paso.
Despite missing nearly her whole junior year due to a torn ACL, Baber is on course to break all of Carter’s all-time offensive records. As team captain as a freshman, Baber helped lead the Lion’s to a share of the San Andreas League championship. She it .440 with 3 home runs and 25 RBI in 25 games and was All-SAL 2nd team. As a sophomore she hit .567 with 9 homers, 41 RBI, and 38 hits in 24 games. Baber led the SAL in 5-of-6 offensive categories as Carter won the league title outright with a 15-0 record and 20-5 overall.
First year Carter coach Oscar Tapia called Baber a very talented young lady with a heart for the game. He said she’s a straight-A student with a good personality who was voted Carter’ homecoming queen this year. Tapia says Baber’s full scholarship to University of Texas, El Paso brings worthwhile attention to Carter HS.
Last season, Baber damaged her knee in a collision at home plate when she was catching. Normally an outfielder, Baber was asked to catch because the team had no one else. Tapia said she is willing to play anywhere. “She had been a travel ball outfielder but she was a good catcher for us,” said Tapia. Baber also plays on Carter’s volleyball team.
Baber’s travel ball coach Kim Howard thinks she will never play catcher again. Howard has coached Baber on the Corona Angels Gold Under 18 travel team for four years. Howard says there’s too much at risk for Baber to play catcher. “She is playing for our national top-25 travel ball team and is hitting the best Under 18 pitching in the nation,” said Howard.
He thinks Baber will be in the UTEP lineup next year and batting third on opening day. “I look for her to set records in Texas.” Howard explained that unlike most high school sports, softball players earn scholarships almost exclusively by way of travel ball.” College coaches can see over 100 teams showcased in one travel tournament.” He said Baber was offered a scholarship after her sophomore year. UTEP first saw her play for the Corona Angels in a tournament in Colorado.
Howard noticed Baber as a 13-year-old playing recreation ball in a rough Rialto neighborhood. He was there to see another player but it was Baber whose talent caught his attention. “God works in great ways. Pam has been a blessing,” said Howard.
Despite competing against the best teenaged softball players in the nation, Baber says she feels no letdown when playing with less experienced players at Carter. “I’ve grown to have a relationship with my high school teammates. I remember when I didn’t have as much talent and it’s now my job to be there and share what I know,” said Baber in a phone interview.
Baber acknowledged she learned volumes from older, more skilled travel ball players. She credited travel ball with enabling her to get a college scholarship. “Unlike baseball, no one gets a scholarship out of high school.” Baber says lack of finances is no excuse for those wanting to play travel ball. “If you want it, you can get it.” She adds that a support system made up of coaches and family is also needed.
Baber feels she can make an impact right away at UTEP by playing anywhere except pitching, yet most likely is projected to compete as the starting rightfielder. She will live in the athlete’s dorm on campus and take nursing classes.
She realizes that college is the end of the road for her as a softball player but seeks to take full advantage of the moment. “I’ve been given a job at UTEP and I will work at it. I look forward to enjoying everything as long as I have it.” When asked, she liked the idea of some day becoming a community leader. “After softball, my life will be Pamala Baber. I look forward to being myself and becoming successful and being a positive influence on people.”