Coming off a strong spring break trip to Florida last week, the Jackson College Jets women's softball team is nationally ranked in the top 20 of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Softball Rankings, at no. 18.
The Jets went 9-1 on their Florida trip, with the offense scoring 93 runs including 11 home runs by seven different players. The team beat the currently ranked Madison College. The offense was led by freshman Brooke Garbarino, a catcher and outfielder from Livonia, who hit .484 on the trip with three home runs, a grand slam and 20 runs batted in. Jets pitching was stellar all around and was led by the freshman Allison LaPoint (6-0), from Holland, Ohio, who left Florida on a 12-inning scoreless streak. In LaPoint's last four games of the trip, she threw 21 scoreless innings out of 23.
"I knew going into Florida that we would do well and win some games, but I did not expect us to be 9-1,) said Jamie Vandenburgh, head coach. 'We played better competition this year than we have in the past, but the girls were ready for it and played hard. The best part of the trip was seeing the team play or each other and support one another. Our centerfielder made a diving catch to end a game that had been a little back and forth, and the entire team sprinted to the outfield! They were excited about their teammate. It was something awesome to see!"
This year's team is a unique group of only four sophomores and 14 freshmen.
"The sophomores have stepped up and filled an upperclassmen role," Vandenburgh said. "They keep the team engaged and focused both on and off the field. All sophomores are filling starting roles and proving why they should be on the field."
After working out hard over the winter with a new strength coach and being focused during hitting sessions, the team has set some high goals for the season. "I am excited to see this season play out and hope that we can continue rolling forward," Vandenburgh said.
The team's home opener is set for this Thursday, March 22, against Glen Oaks Community College, with games scheduled at 3 & 5 p.m. Check the website for any weather-related changes.