OVERCOMING OBSTACLES: THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

Written by Janae Jordan
07/08/20

I grew up in Richmond, Indiana, a small-town east of Indianapolis. I come from a big sports family. My siblings and cousin played baseball and softball so I spent a lot of time at the ball parks.  I knew after watching them I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I got my start when my mom enrolled me in tee ball at the age of five. I was the only girl on my team. In my first year of tee ball I hit a homerun and knew this was the sport for me. I then started playing in a rec league and moved on to playing travel ball. After a few years of playing travel ball in Richmond, it was decided that I would try out for a more competitive travel team. At nine years old, I was offered a spot on the 10U Indy Chix. I played two years with that team, before switching to the Indiana Prospects. My last and final travel team was with the Indy Dreams. Over these travel ball years, I played in many tournaments, showcases, and I also went to many camps.


When I was not playing travel ball, I was playing softball at North Central and Cathedral. I attended North Central my freshman and sophomore year. My first season ended with a batting average of .531, hitting 3 home runs and earning an all-conference award. My sophomore year resulted in an offensive award for the highest batting average (.587), all-conference, and the MVP award. My time at North Central was short lived, as I then transferred schools and attended Cathedral. As a junior, I helped guide the team to an overall record of 17-13 and a berth in the IHSAA Section 10 Championship game. My season ended with a .345 batting average. My final season at Cathedral, I was able to produce 36 RBIs, scored 13 runs, 8 home runs, 9 doubles, and a triple. I finished my senior year with a .494 batting average. We won a regional championship, but lost in the semi-state semifinals.

 
 

I quickly realized that I wanted to play softball in college, and knew I was talented enough to get there. But where? I wasn’t sure where I would end up so I kept my options open. At first, I really thought I wanted to go far away to college, but then I was recruited by Ball State my sophomore year. I decided that being somewhat close to home wouldn’t be all bad. I knew staying close to home would mean my family would be able to come to my games. After going on a few visits, I knew Ball State was the perfect choice for me and verbally committed.


My freshman year at Ball State I was recruited as a catcher/power hitter. Not too long into the fall season (in October 2016) I had to have knee surgery due to a torn meniscus. I was distraught and thought it was going to set me back, but I worked hard to rehab and was able to return right before the season started in February. I was able to slowly get back and start as a designated hitter. The doctor said in order to preserve my knees, I would have to end my catching career. I started all 58 games, with 16 starts as the designated player and 42 starts at 3rd base. I was second on the team in multiple hit games, and was third on the team with a batting average of .296, including 10 doubles, a triple, and 5 home runs. I was second on the squad with 28 RBI’s and third on the team with a .447 slugging percent.

 
 

My second year at Ball State, was probably my best year by far. I had fully recovered from my surgery and was getting after it. I started 55 of the 56 games, ranking third on the team with a .295 batting average. I concluded my season with 9 doubles and 14 home runs. I tied the Mid-American Conference (MAC) for second with 14 home runs in a single season and by the end of the year was 7th best in program history. I was ranked 2nd on the team and 6th in the MAC in both slugging percentage (.638) and on base percentage (.460). I also set the single season record for Ball State and ranked second in the league with 47 walks. I led the team with 14 multiple RBI games and drove in the game-winning RBI in 8 games. Six of those times were by a home run, and scored the game-winning run on 6 different occasions. I was able to reach base safely in 46 of the 55 games played. Also, during the season I recorded at least one hit in 31 games and at least one RBI in 25 games.


I had a great start to my junior year. My first few weekends I had a 3-run double, and 5 home runs. I just knew this season was going to be better than the last. I was on a straight mission. We were playing at Florida International University (FIU) against FIU. It was a night game, and if you have ever watched Ball State Softball, you know we live for the night games. It was the first inning. I was batting third. My teammate in front of me hit a single, and I came through with a big double. The throw was directed to home plate, so me being the trail runner, advance to 3rd base. Unfortunately, I had a little trouble getting to the base. My cleat got stuck in the dirt and I hyperextended my hip. I was more upset that I wasn’t safe, than I was hurt. I laid there for a second, and went to get up, but I could barely walk. I could not put pressure on my leg. I sat out the rest of the game and the weekend, and had an MRI once we got back. Results came back, and I had a torn hip labrum and hip impingement. I sat out roughly for a month and was able to return in late April. I ended my junior year playing in only 42 games. I was able to lead the Ball State offense with 10 home runs, and was tied for 5th in the MAC. I had 7 multiple hit games and 5 multiple RBI contests. I had 4 game-winning RBIs on the year. This was not how I wanted to end my junior season, but I was looking forward to my senior year with a positive mindset.

 
 

At the beginning of my senior year, I was feeling healthy and was ready to give it my all.  I started all of our first 27 games and our team was off to a great start. However, my senior season was cut short due to Covid-19. Within those first 27 games, I had 22 hits and 7 home runs, allowing me to be tied for 2nd in the MAC. I had 17 RBIs and 14 runs scored. I also drove in the game-winning RBI in 4 games, and scored the game-winning run twice. Our team was off to a really good start and I was devastated when our season ended early. Fortunately, the NCAA granted the spring athletes another year of eligibility. I plan to return to Ball State in the fall to play another year and start my master’s program in coaching.



Softball has given me many opportunities both on and off the field. Things have not also been easy and gone as planned, but the positives have certainly outweighed the negatives. It has helped me to grow into a stronger person and provided me lasting friendships and life-long relationships. I hope that in the future I can give back to others what the sport has given to me.

 
 
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