Cook steals her way into record books

Junior outfielder Alli Cook looks at her opponent while attempting to score in a game against Southern Oregon on Feb. 15. Photo credit: Caio Calado

When junior outfielder Alli Cook came to Chico State as a first-year student, she said she wanted to leave her mark.

And that’s exactly what she did.

On Feb. 28, against San Francisco State, Cook stole a base that would etch her name in the history books as the all-time stolen base leader in Chico State softball history.

“I’ve wanted to break the stolen base record,” Cook said, “so when I did, it felt liberating because I accomplished a goal that I had set.”

Her stolen bases have put her at an impressive 62 swipes in her career as a Wildcat and 15 on the young season.

Breaking the record halfway through her junior year, Cook will have the rest of this season and her senior year to add to that total.

“She’s got great speed,” said Angel Shamblin, head coach of the team. “She’s also very instinctive and knows the game well.”

Known as “Balli” by her teammates, Cook is not only successful on the base paths but also on the field and with the bat.

Last season she hit .371, which was the seventh highest in a season for Chico State. She also led the team with 27 runs, 53 hits and 27 stolen bases.

Leading the team in stolen bases is familiar territory for Cook. She also led the team as a true first-year in 2013.

Her 27 stolen bases last season tied Chico State’s single-season record. She is on pace to achieve 20 stolen bases for the third year in a row.

This year she is hitting an impressive .321 with 26 hits and six RBIs.

In the outfield, Cook defends center field using her speed and instincts.

“She’s one of the best center fielders I’ve ever played with,” said Brooke Langeloh, junior pitcher. “She dives for anything.”

She has 14 catches and 10 put outs in the season so far from the outfield.

Her overall success can be attributed to her strong work ethic, Shamblin said.

“If she needs to stay after, she stays after,” she said. “If she needs extra time in the weight room, she does that as well. She’s a very hard worker.”

Her work ethic stems from the support of her teammates, and she works hard to make sure she doesn’t let them down, Cook said.

She leads the younger players by example with nonstop hard work combined with aggressive playing style, Shamblin said.

One of the vocal leaders in the dugout, Cook has helped lead the softball team to a 12-4 start this season.

Breaking the record with a year and a half left in her Wildcat career, every stolen base from now on is just icing on the cake.

Nick Martinez-Esquibel can be reached at [email protected] or @THENickMartinez on Twitter.