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Uncommon ground

Baughman has found a niche not only in the circle, but also on canvas

Posted: May 4, 2009 10:09 p.m.
Updated: May 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Hawai'i senior pitcher Courtney Baughman throws in an undated photo.

 
There could not be a better place for inspiration.

The mere thought of Hawai'i brings to mind images of beautiful beaches and jungle foliage of greens, pinks and oranges.

It is the perfect place for an aspiring artist - and softball player.

Valencia graduate Courtney Baughman can say that.

She says the decision to play at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa caught even herself by surprise.

"I grew up with the same friends in Valencia my whole life, so to go so far was a weird decision," Baughman says.

She wouldn't change a thing.

Though a senior in regards to her softball eligibility, Baughman still has another year left of her scholarship, allowing her to spend the 2009-2010 school year focusing on finishing up her art degree.

Many of her classes are conducted outdoors.

One such place is a small koi pond that Baughman says she spends time next to drawing.

When her education is complete, she hopes to focus on interior design.

"I like all sorts of art," she says. "I study Chinese art, and I've studied photography of the 19th century. I like Renaissance art, so I want to go to Italy."
In fact, travel plans are in her future.

Baughman hopes to visit such places as Italy and see the famous pieces that she has spent time studying in school.
Her interest in art started with her mother, who she says also painted, and continued with a design class she took while at Valencia High.

"There is a garden where she goes over and paints and draws," says her mother Nancy Baughman. "This campus is the environment that really inspires her."

Little did she know how her interest in painting and drawing would increase when she moved to the islands.

"I like to say to her, ‘Oh you are one of those artsy fartsy majors,'" jokes head coach Bob Coolen. "She chuckles a lot about it. She is in studios a lot. It takes up a lot of her time. I have nothing but kudos for her."

Her art degree and softball have even overlapped at times, as she has taken pictures of her teammates for use in her photography classes.

Baughman says it is very uncommon for athletes to also pursue an art degree noting, "there are only a small handful of us."

For the pitcher this season, art has a been one of the only constants.

Despite fighting an injury to her throwing shoulder, Baughman has battled through the pain and still managed a 3.29 ERA, 57 strikeouts and a 7-8 record in 19 appearances this season.

On Saturday, she pitched seven innings and earned the win over Boise State in Hawai'i's regular season final.

She has also been able to help mentor freshman ace Stephanie Ricketts, who is 21-9 with 173 strikeouts in 40 appearances as the Rainbow Wahine (28-22, 15-6) enjoyed a successful season, finishing third in the Western Athletic Conference.

One of eight seniors, it is relationship that she talks the most about, particularly the unity of her team.

"It is just the whole process, the whole experience," Baughman says. I've met so many people from all over. I have friends from Australia and New Zealand - just all over."

Whether art or softball, Baughman's time in Hawai'i has provided her with innumerable experiences that have only affirmed college selection.

Her coach sees it too.

"She has grown up a lot as a young lady," Coolen says. "Hopefully she has enjoyed the ride."


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