For someone who loves being in the center of a softball game, Mikelle Anthony plays the perfect position.
At second base or shortstop, the Skyview senior lets her talent and leadership shine.
“I love middle infield,” Anthony said. “You’re in the middle. You’re telling the infield ‘I’ve got you.’ You’re telling the outfield what to do. You’re the biggest voice.”
No matter where Anthony plays, she’s among the area’s best. She has been a first-team all-league utility player in the 4A Greater St. Helens League each of her three seasons.
Anthony has played every infield position. She also pitched last season.
And when Anthony joins the University of Nevada-Las Vegas next year, she’ll be able to play wherever she’s needed.
“They’ve even mentioned her playing outfield in college,” said Mikelle’s mother and Skyview coach, Kim Anthony. “She has the bat to get into the lineup. You just get in wherever you can at that level.”
In going to UNLV, Anthony is following in the footsteps of both her parents.
Her mother, then Kim Smith, played softball for the Rebels after starring for Columbia River.
Her father, Charles, played defensive back for UNLV before playing seven seasons in the Canadian Football League. The family moved to Vancouver when he became Evergreen’s head football coach in 2009.
Mikelle Anthony won’t be the first in her family to play Division-I softball. Her sister, Madison Anthony, played at Oregon State and Boise State. Her senior year, she hit .409 and set a Boise State single-season record with 18 doubles.
With older sisters Madison and Miah avidly into softball, Mikelle had an early introduction to the game.
“Honestly, as long as I can remember,” she said when asked when she started playing softball. “I started playing competitively when I was 10. That’s when I said ‘OK, I can probably start taking this seriously.'”
Mikelle Anthony attracted interest from colleges before she even reached Skyview. College coaches began to reach out through club coaches during her eighth grade year.
But having seen her older sister go through the recruiting ringer, the extra attention didn’t unnerve Anthony.
“My parents learned with her,” she said. “She was the guinea pig. For me, I got to see what happened, what helped her and what didn’t.”
The recruiting rules recently changed. Colleges aren’t allowed to contact recruits until September of their junior year. Kim Anthony believes that’s for the best.
“That’s a lot for an eighth grader to think about,” she said. “I’m glad Mikelle waited until her junior year to make those decisions. She’s an old soul and wise beyond her years.”
Part of Mikelle Anthony’s wisdom is not limiting herself to just softball. At Skyview, she has lettered in basketball, soccer and cheerleading.
“She’s the kind of kid who says, ‘what’s the point of being a kid if you can’t do it all?'” Kim Anthony said. “She has never been able to do softball 365 days a year. Some people said she’s crazy for it and that she’ll never go to the school she wants to.”
Now Mikelle Anthony is headed exactly where she wants to. She decided on UNLV almost immediately after making her official visit.
Between now and then, she’ll focus on another lesson she learned from her older sister – have fun. That means cracking a smile and sharing joy with teammates, all while hitting .450 as she did last year.
“I never wanted to play for the recruiters, I wanted to play for myself,” she said. “I’m really myself on the field, and I got that from (Madison).”