Schaffer among finalists for first Ms. Softball Award
For the first year, high school senior baseball and softball athletes are being chosen for a state-wide award, the Mr. Baseball and Ms. Softball awards.
On June 2, Jordan Schaffer received a text message from her softball coach telling her she was a finalist for the award.
"It's the greatest honor to even be selected," Schaffer said.
The seven finalists for each award were selected by college coaches and scouts. They'll decide who wins the award, too, but the winner won't be named until a banquet June 20.
Schaffer, the starting catcher and one of the captains for the Hastings Raiders softball team, has softball in her blood.
"I have been around the game of softball basically since I was born," she said. "My whole family plays softball."
In first grade she started playing T-ball, and when she was 9 or 10 years old, she tried to join Hastings' 10U youth fast pitch team.
"I signed up and tried out, but they didn't have enough girls," she said.
So instead, she and Jenelle Trautmann, a fellow Raider softball player, got moved to the 12U team with girls two and three years older.
Schaffer said her mother was concerned about letting her play with older girls, but Schaffer didn't give up.
"I stuck it out and decided to do it, and I loved it," she said.
Schaffer started catching for the Raiders as a freshman in high school, and was the team's starting catcher her sophomore year.
"Let me tell you, I wasn't very good when I started," she admitted. "I was really bad."
But there was something about the position she couldn't stay away from.
"Something about being in control of the game and always knowing what's going on," she said.
To improve her game, Schaffer attended summer camps and worked closely with her coach, learning not only her position, but also those of all her teammates.
"To work correctly, you need to know what everyone's supposed to do," she explained.
Schaffer said she enjoys the leadership role being catcher gives her.
Her hard work has paid off. This year and last year she was named All-State, and she's helped her team win the conference championship and the section championship three years running.
She's had plenty of successes, but Schaffer won't take the credit.
"I can't really say that it's all me, because it's mostly my teammates," she said of her achievements. "I wouldn't have any of the achievements without great teammates... They should get as much, if not more, credit than I get."
They're not just her teammates, she said, they're also her family. Without them, she wouldn't be getting noticed by college scouts and coaches, she said.
Schaffer was awarded a scholarship to St. Cloud State University, where she'll study nursing and continue to play softball. She expects to split catcher's duties with a catcher already playing on the university's team. She doesn't expect her next step to be an easy one.
"I've still got to work hard day-in and day-out to earn my spot," she said. "'Cause nothing's gonna be handed to you there."
The Ms. Softball Award, which is being presented by the Minnesota Minute Men in cooperation with the Minnesota Twins, will be given at a banquet June 20 at Target Field.
The other candidates for the Ms. Softball Award are Sara DuPaul of Spring Lake Park, Kristen Fah of Becker, Samantha Holien of Forest Lake, Sarah Moulton of Eagan, Megan Mullen of Hermantown and Rebekah Roth of Mounds View.
Show your support for Schaffer by voting for her in a poll. Click on the "Vote for Ms. Softball" link above. The final decision will be made by the coaches and scouts, Schaffer said, but the poll helps give them an idea of what the fans think.