BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - An emotional Bruce Blaker fought hard to keep the tears from flowing, but it would've been understandable if his eyes didn't agree with his thoughts.
His oldest daughter, Demi, signed with Mississippi State Wednesday afternoon and will play softball for the Bulldogs and head coach Vann Stuedeman. She did so with her mom, Shei, her sister, Dallas, and brother, Brody, in attendance.
"I couldn't have asked for a better coach from my dad's point of view," Demi Blaker said. "He's coached me all throughout playing softball and my mom likewise. There were times where I got scared and thought, 'you know, I don't know if I can do this.' They were the ones there the whole time saying (I was) meant to do this. They've always encouraged me."
"As a father, it's amazing but Demi did as much for me as I did for her," Bruce Blaker said. "She's amazing. She's a natural athlete all the way around and a natural hitter all around. She adjusts well.
Even though Demi missed the final month of her senior season with an injury, she recorded a .464 batting average, 16 RBIs and 17 stolen bases during her final campaign at Our Lady Academy.
Versatility is a huge reason why she was recruited by not just MSU, but South Alabama and Florida State as well. The future Bulldog began her OLA career as a pitcher, spent most of her junior and senior seasons playing catcher, but her favorite position, if she had to pick, would be either second base or shortstop.
Demi, who was also a cheerleader for Our Lady Academy/St. Stanislaus athletics, hits to contact to all fields, while her younger sister, Dallas, is the power hitter and pitcher.
Dallas will be a Division 1 player someday, but she's already receiving interest from numerous teams. Dallas concluded her freshman season at OLA with seven home runs, 43 RBIs and also posted a .543 batting average.
But wait, there's more.
She also notched 10 wins and recorded 164 strikeouts pitching for the Crescents. As you can imagine, the talented sisters have a well-established sibling rivalry, but the competitive nature also helps these sisters appreciate each other more.
"I don't think a lot of siblings would want their little sisters following them to college but my sister has been there for me since the start," Demi Blaker said. "She's been right alongside me during high school ball. I think it would be amazing to play at the college level with her. She keeps me in check, I keep her in check and I'm excited for her to do big things, too."
While Demi will be the only player from the coast on Mississippi State's roster next season, she won't be for very long. St. Patrick junior pitcher Sabrina Turner, who is going for a third consecutive state championship this Friday with the Lady Irish, will join Demi at MSU for the 2015-16 school year.
"Really, I'm just looking to go up there and outwork all the other freshmen and really prove that coast girls can do it best," Demi Blaker said. "I want to go up there and make a statement and really represent my family, Mississippi State and myself in the best possible way."
With only a few months remaining until his oldest daughter begins her college career, Bruce Blaker is just trying to enjoy the summer with Demi and her final softball games as a high schooler.
"I don't want to think about the future," Bruce Blaker said. "I just want to live in the moment right now. I want to enjoy the last few tournaments and last few times we can share the diamond together.