Jordan juniors jumpstart softballApr 09, 2018 10:53AM ● By Ron Bevan
Anika Swensen is one of several juniors getting starting time for Jordan’s softball varsity team. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)
With just two seniors suiting up for Jordan’s softball team, the Beetdiggers may be using this year as a catalyst to be ready for next year. But don’t count this year’s squad out just yet.
“Our strongest point on the team this season is our hitting,” Jordan coach Shawnee LePrey said. “We have several girls that can hit the ball pretty well.”
Jordan needs to rely on the bat due to a lack of experienced pitchers. Just one girl has stepped up to throw the ball for Jordan, and she is still very new to the position. Sophomore Aspen Jeffries handles almost all of the pitching assignments for the Beetdiggers.
“Jeffries is the only player who showed any interest in the position,” LePrey said. “She is still learning, but learning fast because she has basically been thrust into our starting pitcher position.”
While Jeffries is still working on her consistency in pitches, her speed on the ball tends to force the opposition to put the ball into the air instead of on the ground.
“When we can get the other team to put the ball into play, we have a strong enough defense to get the out,” LePrey said.
Jordan has only two seniors on this year’s team, and one of them is fairly new to the sport. Laura Rios had never played softball until her junior season when she decided to try out for the team.
“She came to our open gym practices and showed a lot of potential as an athlete,” LePrey said. “So we gave her a chance as a junior. She continued to work hard and played a couple games in the outfield last year.”
Now Rios has worked herself into a prominent position in the Beetdigger defense, handling the workload at third base. She has also shown her toughness, as when she was hit pretty hard on a batted ball in March.
“Although you could tell it hurt her, she just kept playing through the pain,” LePrey said.
The other senior is Jessie Cowburn, a former third base player now handling the other hot corner at first base.
“When Cowburn joined our team we had several players already slotted for the third base position,” LePrey said. “But she has such a good bat we needed to find a good place for her. So we worked with her a lot as a sophomore and she has become an excellent at first base.”
Jordan also caught a break when a talented transfer moved into the area from Carbon County. Allie Atwood came to the school and immediately found herself planted in the shortstop role. The junior is also the lead-off hitter for the Beetdiggers because of her ability to get on base.