Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to hitting a baseball or softball. And patience is what Weatherford College Coyote Jordan Griffith has.
At the time of this writing, Griffith was leading the Lady Coyotes in getting on base with a .413 percentage. Whether it's getting a base hit or a walk, whatever it takes to help her team is what she wants.
"Patience is a virtue, cliché but very true," she said. "When it comes to staying back and hitting the ball I may not always be the best at it, but when you're down in the count seeing a lot pitches helps you and your team out. It forces the pitcher to throw more pitches than she needs and allows for the other girls to see how she throws.
"Patience is a huge part of this sport, in everything. So if you have patience, it becomes a very useful weapon. Plus, it's a free base."
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Griffith, a product of Westwood High School in Round Rock, was named All-North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference her freshman season at WC. Still, she felt she could do more to help the Coyotes, so she made some changes to her game.
"Yes, I made many adjustments. Last year, in my opinion, I played like a scared freshman, but this year I came out just ready to play," she said. "It’s the same game it's been since I started when I was five, only the girls are much bigger now.
“I tell myself to be like Kelley Montalvo, my favorite softball player. She was a third baseman that played at Alabama who was only 4-foot-11. I want to be as good as her."
Just like Montalvo, Griffith takes pride in being among the hardest workers to be found. She follows a philosophy that while others may have more talent and bigger numbers, they won't have the work ethic she does - something coaches love.
"This season I wanted to prove to myself that I can be the best third baseman there is. Obviously that's a long shot but I think I have shown myself every day that I am getting better," Griffith said. "I may not be the best third baseman there is but I can make sure no one works harder than me."
And she is her own toughest critic. Despite the patience she has shown at the plate, she pushes herself for even more.
"Another goal I had for myself is to wait on the ball, this is for hitting," she said. "I am probably the world's worst at being early but I am working on it. Slowly but surely will I reach it."
Right up there with her persistence is her toughness. She tore a tendon in her pinky after being hit by an opponent's cleat in October. She continued to finish the fall season despite the pain.
"We didn't really know what was wrong with it at first so I continued to play the fall out, only noticing that I was unable to bend my pinky," she said. "We got it checked out and was told I needed to have surgery. I had surgery in November...luckily it was just off-season, so I didn't miss much softball.
"Surprisingly I had a pretty fast recovery, considering I am already back playing. Although, it is just a pinky, I never knew how frustrating it would be to learn how to re-bend your pinky."
When she's not playing softball, Griffith still loves anything that gets her outdoors.
"I love to run outside, I love to fish, just anything you can do outside really, softball especially," she said.
"I also really love staying inside watching a good movie or reading an interesting book. I love hanging out with my family. They are very important to me."
And she said the goal is for she and her Coyotes family to go a long way in the upcoming postseason. Two years ago they reached the national tournament in Utah, and Griffith believes that could happen again this year, and largely because the team is not putting undue pressure on itself.
"We seem to enjoy playing together and we like to have fun. This team isn't a very serious team and it shows when we try to be because we start to tense up instead of being loose and having fun," she said.
"I know we all want the same thing - Utah or bust. Now it's time to show everyone that we do mean business. We aren't last year's team or the one before it. Not even the one that is coming in next year. This team is right now and ready. Ready to come out on top."
Her career at Weatherford College will wrap up soon, but she said she wants to continue playing softball at a higher level. She's looking at playing out of state because wherever she lands will be someplace she might not otherwise ever have gone.
And one way or another, she would love to keep softball in her life for the rest of her life.
"I am looking into either being a game warden or becoming a coach. I have always been interested in law enforcement and forensics but I love this game so much that I would live the rest of my life happy if I was able to continue being around it," Griffith said. "I think I have started leaning towards coaching because I would love to share the love I have for this game with others."
Coyote softball team keeps streak alive with Vernon sweep
The Lady Coyotes have won seven straight games and 12 of their last 14, including a doubleheader sweep of Vernon April 22, 10-9 and 8-1 at Stuart Field.
Game one was a wild ride, clinched when a Vernon error with the bases loaded allowed the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning.
WC built up 6-3 lead by the bottom of the sixth inning, but a six-run Vernon outburst in the top of the seventh put the game in question. The Coyotes answered with three runs in the home half of the seventh to tie the game and then capped things off by capitalizing on the walk-off error in the tenth.
The teams combined for 19 runs and 32 hits in game one, including eight extra base hits.
Bethany Allen went an impressive 6-for-7 with two RBIs and three runs scored in the game. Mackenzie Bay was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
The second game wasn’t nearly as stressful for head coach Haylee Williams and her staff, as WC scored three runs each in the fourth and fifth innings, one run in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Taylor Maliska earned win, allowing just three hits over five and a third innings with one run and five strikeouts. Randi May was strong in relief, allowing no hits and no runs with just two walks in two innings.
Megan Mason was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs in game two. Alex Kovacs also added two RBIs in a 2-for-4 performance.
With the final date of the regular season this past Saturday at Cisco, WC (31-13 overall, 22-8 in conference) had a chance to clinch the second seed and a first round bye in the upcoming Region 5-North Tournament. Two more wins would’ve clinched the second seed.
Saturday’s results weren’t available at the paper’s press deadline.