High School Sports Awards: Nebraska softball standout Jordyn Bahl personifies performance, leadership
Throughout the course of her recently completed high school softball career at Papillion-La Vista High School in Nebraska, University of Oklahoma signee Jordyn Bahl delivered at the plate and on the mound in dominant fashion.
Bahl is an honoree in the Nebraska High School Sports Awards. The winners will be announced on the show website July 15. If she wins, she will become an honoree for the first national USA TODAY High School Sports Awards show, presented by U.S. Polo Assn. The on-demand national show will stream on the show website 8 p.m. Eastern Aug. 5.
Along the pathway to success that yielded a trio of Nebraska School Activities Association Class A State Championships, Bahl never lost sight of the importance of adhering to the tenets of leadership, teamwork and maintaining an even keel.
She recalled an experience from 2018 that served as the driving force behind the 2019 and 2020 successes.
"Our sophomore year we were undefeated the entire season and we get to the state championship, it's double elimination and we lost back-to-back to a team we had already beaten twice earlier in the season," she said. "We avoided that our junior and senior year because we had already gotten a taste of that. We came together and were like we never wanted to have that feeling again. We took that mindset to practice every day and it was just constantly motivating us."
The Monarchs notched back-to-back Class A crowns in 2020 and 2019, recording perfect marks of 36-0 in each season, with Bahl playing a pivotal role along the way.
During her senior season Papillion-La Vista High School (Nebraska) softball standout Jordyn Bahl notched a 27-0 record, with a microscopic 0.10 ERA while fanning 316 and yielding only 15 walks in 137 innings. She also batted .510 with 20 home runs, 37 runs scored and 55 RBI in 33 games. (Photo: Ross Whipple)
"Obviously, it was an amazing season," Papillion-La Vista High School Head Softball Coach Todd Petersen said about the 2020 season. "We had some close games, but just the domination of Jordyn and her teammates was just a lot of fun to watch as a coach. Basically, they matched what they did the year before. They went undefeated two straight seasons and that had never happened in Class A softball in Nebraska."
Petersen said Bahl's leadership qualities supersede a myriad of talents.
"The biggest thing is being a leader," Petersen said. "She's the hardest working athlete I've ever coached. And she has the ability to connect with her teammates, so they want to accept her leadership. She's put in the time and effort over the years to get to the level of play that she's at, but that's come with a lot of sacrifice."
In 2020 Bahl batted .510 with 20 home runs, 37 runs scored and 55 RBI in 33 games. On the mound, she notched a 27-0 record with a microscopic 0.10 ERA while fanning 316 and yielding only 15 walks in 137 innings.
Bahl finished her four-year career with a .504 batting average, 58 homers and 188 RBI and logged a 95-3 mark on the hill while finishing 54-0 during her junior and senior seasons.
"Along with the stats and the championships, there are lows," she said. "When there are lows, you just have to keep your head up and don't get down on yourself. There will be days when it's really tough, but you have to stay steadfast through it all and not lose sight of your goals."
Bahl joined teammate Brooke Dumont as team captain during their sophomore season with the Monarchs, which Petersen attributes to the pair's attention to detail.
"Sometimes it's the little things," he said. "The first person that's at practice, the first person to make sure the equipment is set up and put away. It's the things that are done without somebody saying anything. It's unique."
Embracing the team concept is essential to being successful in the sport, Bahl said.
"Softball is a huge team sport and you have an entire roster of girls that are going to help win the game," she said. "When I was pitching, I knew I had a solid defense behind me and when I was at the plate, I was never like 'I have to get on or I need to get a big hit, here', because if I didn't, the girl behind me was going to or the girl in front of me already had."
That's the mindset Bahl, who has been selected to play in the PGF High School All-American Game in Huntington Beach, California, will take to the University of Oklahoma, where she will join a program fresh off of a Women's College World Series title.
"It pretty much came down to me wanting to find a program with the culture and values that aligned," she said. "They're a blue-collar program, they're big into faith and playing for each other. Going seven hours away from where I live, I want to be somewhere where my softball team is going to be my family away from home. I need to be able to rely on them and not change who I am to fit in. That was pretty much one of the biggest reasons for choosing Oklahoma. I'm going to go there and do what I can, take whatever opportunities and make the most out of them."
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