Sister Act 2
Nicole (Fisher) James joins twin sister Jamie in IGHSAU Hall of Fame
Last week before the start of the 2018 state tournament championship games, Fisher returned to that same diamond to once again be honored, this time as part of the newest class of Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Softball Hall of Fame Inductees.
“It truly was a great honor to be recognized at that level by the committee that decides this,” she said. “It was just a very, very great honor.”
Fisher became the second Comet to earn Hall of Fame honors after her twin sister, Jamie, was inducted as part of the 2016 class. Nicole is the sixth athlete from the Marshalltown area to join the ranks of the 126 total Hall of Fame inductees.
After playing catcher for nearly all of Jamie’s 150 high school wins — the 37th-most wins in Iowa softball history — Nicole said it’s nice to be enshrined alongside her sister among the greats.
“It was an exciting time to join her and I was always Jamie’s biggest fan too so I was always really happy for her,” Nicole said. “She worked really hard to get the recognition she had all along, so to join her and really to be compared to Jamie is a great honor too.”
Her sister’s accomplishments aside, Nicole is absolutely deserving of her spot in the hall of fame on her own merits. She was selected as an all-state player three times, led the class in home runs in both 2007 and 2008 and finished with a career batting average of .431.
In her sophomore season Nicole batted .514 with 75 RBIs, the most RBIs in the entire state by more than 25 regardless of class. During the 2010 state tournament, she went a combined 5-for-9 with a home run, five RBIs and four runs scored. Even in her first season as an eighth-grader, she hit for a .347 average in 23 starts while knocking in 15 RBIs.
Despite those gaudy numbers and two state titles, Fisher said she never considered a spot in the hall of fame was in her future.
“I don’t think I even thought much about the hall of fame in high school or even was very aware of it,” she said. “When we were at the state tournament when they were all doing the inductions, Jamie and I were in the bullpen warming up. It never really crossed my mind or wasn’t something that I thought of.”
After walking off as a back-to-back state champion, Fisher went on to play two seasons at Kirkwood Community College — where she was named a first-team All-American in 2012 — and she played two seasons at Northern Iowa, garnering a Missouri Valley all-conference second-team honor and helping lead the Panthers to an NCAA tournament appearance.
When reflecting back on her days on the diamond, Fisher said it wasn’t the wins or the runs that stood out to her most, but the fun she had playing with her teammates.
“They were really fun times, softball was something Jamie and I loved to do and we worked hard at it,” Nicole said. “We enjoyed doing it together, not only Jamie and I but we had our teammates that we were best friends with and still very good friends with. It was a lot of fun and the fact that we won games and were a pretty good at it made it a little more fun too.”
One of those former teammates is current BCLUW co-head coach Ashlee Higgins, who took over the job along with Megan Yantis after Fisher’s coach Dave Lee stepped down from the role.
Fisher said the reason the Comets experienced success in her days and still experience success now is because of Lee’s tutelage.
“I think that it’s a legacy that Dave Lee started. Really we owe it all to him,” she said. “He was a very dedicated coach and really made all of his teams before and after us, he just instilled in us hard work and made it what it was. Because of him we were able to be a part of something and help lead the team to the seasons that we had. Really I think that all credit goes to Dave Lee.”
Though she has spent quite a bit of time in the spotlight, Fisher said she prefers to stay humble about her hall of fame selection.
“I don’t like the extra attention,” Fisher said with a laugh. “It’s an honor and it feels good to be recognized but it’s something that if somebody tells me good job I’ll say ‘thank you’ but I like to not be recognized I guess.”
Fisher was a part of a four-player Hall of Fame induction class that included Tracy Langhurst of Cedar Rapids Jefferson (1979-1983), Cassandra Darrah of Wayne of Corydon (2007-2010) and Tana Colt of Akron-Westfield (2007 graduate). … Fisher is the first IGHSAU Softball Hall of Fame inductee from the Marshalltown Times-Republican coverage area since Jamie Fisher, Nicole’s twin sister and 2010 BCLUW graduate, was inducted in 2016. Heather Daters of LDF-SEMCO (1990) was selected in 1996, Laurie Sutten of Marshalltown (1984) was inducted in 1990, West Marshall’s Kathy Lively (1978) got the call in 1986, and NESCO’s Susanne Good (1974) was honored in 1984.