‘TIMEOUT’ with Lady ’Cats freshman softball player Jordan Andrade
Powerful things can come in small packages. Great players develop over time and Rome was not built in one day. However, some impressive people and places can grab your attention early and often. The Paris Lady Wildcats softball team is led by standout freshman Jordan Andrade in more ways than one, but her current passion started out with a dream in her youth.
“When I was little, my grandpa was a pitching coach and I was over there all the time,” Jordan said. “I would sit out there in the backyard and watch him give pitching lessons, which made me really want to start to play softball. So, I started playing T-ball and, when I moved to California in second grade, I knew I wanted to go somewhere for softball.”
During much of her youth, Jordan went to school and played sports across the country, and she learned plenty of valuable lessons during her time in the Golden State.
“Out in California, I learned how to really be a part of a team and how to work together and the important bond that comes with it,” Jordan said. “Everyone is watching you and you have to know how to perform under pressure.”
Since making the move to Paris, Jordan joined the varsity squad at Paris High School, where her mother Brandi Batchelor is in her first year as the head coach of the program. With that, the mother-daughter duo has already learned more about their own connection through softball along with ways they can use their relationship for the benefit of the team.
“It’s been going good with our mother-daughter bond, but we don’t take that out on the field,” Jordan said. “Out on the field, she is my coach and I am one of her players. We don’t have that bond on the field, but it’s always cool to look at the film and talk to her about things. We know we can help everyone else and show the rest of the team how to fix it because they may understand what the coach is saying better from another teammate’s point of view.”
Even though she is only a freshman, Jordan feels confident in what is coming both in the short-term and long-term future.
“We just need to keep being confident in each other and, if we keep pushing each other, we know we can go out there and do big things if we keep working,” Jordan said. “I’m very confident in our team and our future. Since we’ve got some tougher games out of the way, I think we can really get after some of these teams coming up.”
Jordan has not made her dedication to softball a secret, and she takes on many opportunities to get extra work in. On one occasion, she visited Austin, Texas, and the visit turned out to be promising to say the least.
“Through a University of Texas camp, I talked to the school’s head softball coach Mike White,” Jordan said. “He told me that if I continued to develop on the rate I am going, if I keep pushing, and if I get my speed up three to five miles per hour, then I most likely could get a scholarship to play there.”
Despite all that she has accomplished, Jordan cannot always escape embarrassing moments or muddy fields.
“A couple of years ago, I went to one of my cousin’s baseball games and it had just gotten finished raining,” Jordan said. “I didn’t think there was going to be a lot of mud, so I asked my little cousin to race. We were running and I was halfway to the wall, and I turned around to see that she stopped. I looked back around and saw a pile of mud right there. I slid and fell all in it, I got the cameraman and everyone around me dirty, and I leaned against the wall when I got up only to see a print of me on the wall. Everybody was laughing.”
Like all great athletes tend to do, Jordan enjoys time to reflect and evaluate things she can fix in order to put them into action.
“I’ll go back and sit in my room, and I will think about ways I can fix something with my game,” Jordan said. “I will get a plan together and use it the next time possible. I really like thinking through different things I can work on and fix.”
Along with her tact and strategy, the freshman has been able to show her grit and guts on the mound. No matter who she has faced at the plate, Jordan knows how resilient she has been throughout her playing days.
“I was pitching during a game a while ago against girls in a higher age group than me,” Jordan said. “The girl I pitched to came back with a line drive that hit me straight in my kneecap and came all the way to the third-base dugout. I remember that I fell down and had to get carried off the field, but I went right back into the game and started throwing the next inning.”
Photo taken by Joe Watson