By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – From playing in the dirt to playing in the ‘big time,’ Braxton McCauley completed her dream journey with the stroke of a pen.
McCauley, Bedford North Lawrence’s star center fielder, signed her NIL paperwork to play for Purdue University. She will join an eight-player class, ranked No.23 in the nation according to the recruiting ‘experts,’ for head coach Boo DeOliveria.
She was one of the slugging stars as BNL went 28-3 and advanced to the Class 4A semistate last season. McCauley hit .429 with 7 home runs and 31 RBIs while earning All-Hoosier Hills Conference honors.
“It’s just unreal,” McCauley said. “All the hard work over the years, it’s crazy to think this is where it got me. All the hard work paid off. When I visited the campus, it hit me that ‘I’m actually here. This is where I should be.’ But it didn’t really click until I signed.”
DeOliveria, who took over the Boilermakers in 2016, guided Purdue to a 24-31 record last season. She is counting on McCauley and the other members of the 2023 recruiting class for a big boost.
“Our signees will be great additions to our current roster, both talent-wise and culture-wise,” De Oliveira said in a press release. “They ‘get it’. They are super talented and excellent teammates.
“Braxton is an Indiana native who swings a big bat. She is a hard worker and a true Boilermaker who was born to wear old gold and black.“
McCauley has been a fixture in center field for two seasons. She hit .416 with 6 homers and 41 RBIs as a sophomore, earning All-HHC honors.
“We have quality kids,” BNL coach Brad Gilbert said. “As a coach, it makes you proud that you have kids that want to move on, that get the opportunity. It’s pretty exciting.”
McCauley will now focus on improving her mental game, and sharpening her hitting skills, as BNL prepares for another successful postseason run in 2023.
“I have a feeling this is going to be a really good year,” she said.