Softball a way of life for Southmont’s Jordan
McKenzi Jordan eats, sleeps and breathes softball.
She’s played the sport since she was five years old and started travel ball as early as age 10. This summer she’s back with a travel team playing softball almost daily.
“I think I get maybe one weekend off the whole year,” Jordan said. “But it’s worth it at the end of the day when you get to hold a trophy up or hit a home run.”
And if one saw her struggling at the plate during the high school season it was most likely because of the intensity of travel ball.
“It’s like going from 65 [mph] to 45,” she said.
But it wasn’t very often she struggled, batting a .417 average on the year with a .440 on base percentage and .604 slugging percentage.
She played every game this season for the Mounties, leading the team in runs (27), hits (40), doubles (7), triples (1) and RBIs (22).
Her favorite statistical number, however, would have been her team leading three home runs.
“This year was my first year ever hitting a bunch of home runs; in travel I hit like six, and I came in here and normally couldn’t hit as many,” Jordan said. “I became more patient at the plate, waited on my pitch.”
Southmont coach Curt Brown said, it is not just the time she puts in at practice that helps her but also the time she puts in year round.
“This is her thing and this is what she does 12 months in a year and what she’s done for a long time,” Brown said. “It’s not so much what she does in practice, it’s what she does to prepare herself for the season all year long.”
Believe it or not, even after leading the team in most of the offensive categories, she is more known for her presence on the mound. In 20 games she recorded an 11-7 record with a 2.11 ERA.
She had 14 complete games, 4 shutouts, one save and just 31 earned runs in 102.2 innings pitched. She also struck out 128 batters.
For all of that, she was named the team’s MVP at the close of the season.
“We rely on her very heavily,” Brown said. “With her ability she keeps us in every game that she throws in.”
Against county teams Jordan put up even better numbers.
Offensively, she went 13-for-21 in five games, brought home eight runs and scored 11 times. On the mound, she went 3-0, going the distance in each game she pitched, and allowed just three earned runs in 17 innings and striking out 30.
Her season ended with a 4-2 loss in the sectional against Lebanon. And while she accomplished most her goals of the year like batting above .300 and hitting three home runs, she missed out on a few she really wanted.
“We almost beat Lebanon,” Jordan said as a goal she just missed out on. “I just wanted to give them the biggest run for their money.
“Didn’t accomplish a no-hitter but I did come close,” she added. “I want to go for 200 strikeouts next year. I want to hit 200 so bad.”
Jordan’s not slowing down at all to accomplish her goals for next year, something evidenced by Brown.
“Her maturity level has grown leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. I think that certainly helps her success,” Brown said. “She tries to help other people as well on the team. She loves being around the game and working at it, anything to do with softball she’s all about it.”
And Jordan, only a junior, doesn’t expect to stop anytime soon.
“I like it because you get a sense of confidence and it’s rewarding,” she said. “You get up to bat and get a hit or you strike somebody out, you get that feel of accomplishment.”