A very exciting weekend lay in store, this past weekend for our 12U team. Playing in Stockton at the USSSA Summer Slam tournament, the players battled it out in the heat to win it all! And to make it even more exciting, the girls came from behind to win 3 games on Sunday, in 1 run walk off fashion!
Finishing with a 7-0 record and the trophy, job well done, Sting 12U!!
Jazmyn Jackson has always had a plan for what’s next.
This time though, as she sat in the back of a lecture hall listening to fellow students and advisors discuss various majors and options, Jackson found herself questioning the blueprint she’d laid before herself. Yes, the goal was always to apply and be accepted into the prestigious Haas School of Business. But plans often change, and what if the route she’d meticulously crafted wasn’t necessarily the straightest path to her desired destination?
Then again, what if it was?
As the tears welled up and the questions swirled in her head, the softball player inside the Cal sophomore resurfaced. She had a plan and knew what to expect, and in much the same way as she takes in and applies a scouting report, Jackson pulled herself together, left the lecture hall and looked forward to the possibilities that existed should she get accepted for the final two years of her undergraduate career.
Fast forward to Feb. 19, 2016, and the Marriott Mission Valley Hotel in San Diego, Calif. Having beaten South Dakota and No. 18-ranked Kentucky in the same day, the Bears returned to their hotel to rest, visit with family and prepare for two more games the next day. Unbeknownst to most of the team, Jackson was still on edge. She had one more challenge to confront, and it had nothing to do with an opposing pitcher or a fly ball.
The email came informing her she was in. The No. 2-ranked undergraduate business program in the country wanted Jazmyn Jackson. She told her parents, told her friends and took a deep sigh of relief as her plan came back into focus.
“I see how hard she works,” said Jackson’s best friend and teammate Annie Aldrete. “She comes home at 10 at night and she’s been at tutoring for calculus and statistics and all these business classes. Business is hard in general, let alone at Berkeley and at Haas. It’s such a big accomplishment. We’re student-athletes and we know what it takes to get good grades, but when you get into a prestigious school like that, it’s a whole different story. I cried. I was so proud of her.”
Business school is the next adventure for a student-athlete who has already accomplished more than most will ever hope to in a four-year college career. Named to the 2016 U.S. Women’s National Team, Jackson spent the summer of 2015 as one of the best players on the U.S. Junior National Team. She made an immediate impact in Berkeley as a freshman for the Bears, hitting .446 and finishing the year as a top-10 finalist for the NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year Award.
Those who know her understand that getting into Haas is another step on Jackson’s list of life goals. That fact is especially evident with one look at her day planner, a color-coded, carefully plotted description of everything she needs to accomplish in a given week. To line up everything she needs to get done, she pores over the neatly arranged lines to make sure she is in the right place at the right time.
That attention to detail has brought Jackson plenty of success already, both on the field and in the classroom.
“She takes everything very seriously and she puts just as much time into her schoolwork as her softball,” Cal head coach Diane Ninemire said. “She’s a very well-balanced individual. It’s not just one or the other, and I think that’s why she selected Cal. She understood the importance of having to have both things going for her in order to go to Cal. And then, to be accepted into the Haas School of Business, ranked No. 2 in the country, she’s not going to back down from any challenges that are put in front of her.”
Jackson and Aldrete have known each other since they were about 12 years old. Both Northern California natives, the duo journeyed to Southern California to play on travel teams and connected through a mutual friend, Fatima Larios. Aldrete, who is a year older than Jackson, eventually left to play at Tennessee and Jackson came to Berkeley.
In the spring of 2015, Jackson’s life plan took another turn. Larios passed away, and those who knew her well were left to grieve a friend taken far too soon. Aldrete made the decision to move closer to home, and when she selected Cal as her landing spot, both she and Jackson knew where to turn to get through what remains a difficult time.
“It means so much that she’s back,” Jackson said. “When we see something, we’ll say ‘hey, do you want to talk.’ We don’t really have a common area, so we’ll go to each other’s rooms. The other night, I went to her room and we just talked, ate candy, did our hair. A lot of it is us being so in our own worlds that we don’t have any release, so I think a big thing for us is knocking on the other person’s door and saying ‘hey, can we talk?’”
On the diamond, Jackson will join the National Team this summer as one of 16 players to represent the United States in international competition. She’ll be one of the youngest players on a team that includes former Cal star Valerie Arioto.
Having just completed her sophomore season, Jackson will play over the summer and return to Berkeley with the added load of business school to shoulder during her junior and senior years.
No one doubts she can handle it.
“She’s hard enough on herself with her expectations that, as long as she can stay within herself and not try to do too much, that will be her biggest challenge,” Ninemire said. “Every time you win another accolade or get named to another team, the pressure kind of grows and mounts on players. Some people embrace it and some people kind of melt. Hopefully, she’ll be the one that will embrace it and continue to grow, accept the challenge and keep working hard to get to the next place.”
In the meantime, Jackson continues to plan for the future. She’s interested in working to become a general manager of a sports franchise or perhaps an agent in sports or entertainment. Making connections in both sports and business will take on added importance as she moves through her time at Berkeley.
And she’ll continue to organize her thoughts in her planner, color coding and plotting for what comes next in a plan that has served her well so far.
“My priorities are God, family, school and softball, so school is before softball. That’s a huge thing for me,” Jackson said. “I’m really excited to get started in Haas and excited to start getting stuff done there and learning about business. I see myself growing in that way, making connections, things like that. Softball-wise, I’ve still got a lot to learn. Being on the National Team, all the girls are older than me, which is awesome. I learn something new every day here (in Berkeley), I can only imagine how much I’m going to learn this summer. I’m excited to get better.”
Here is a recent article written by Thomas Hoffman of Triple Crown Sports:
Every little kid growing up dreams big. No matter the sport, no matter the goal, no matter the subject, we’ve all dreamed about accomplishing something bigger. For Bob Perales of the San Jose Sting, his dream is helping his young players accomplish theirs. Perales joined the Sting organization in 2000 when his daughter needed a place to showcase her fastpitch softball abilities. Staying with her all the way from 12u to 18u gold, Perales soaked up a breadth of knowledge about the fastpitch community and the ever complicated process of recruiting.
“It’s changed a lot since we started this thing,” said Perales, who now spends most of his time with the Sting’s 14u teams. “The ages that these girls are being looked at continues to decline, and I want to be there every step of the way so these girls have the best chance at accomplishing their ultimate goals.”As Perales made the adaptation to the ever-changing world of recruiting, he also made changes in the way that he prepares his players, utilizing Edufii, a computerized application that allows Perales to keep up with his players from long distances.“This app has really changed the game for me,” said Perales. “Now, I can see what my players are working on while they’re at home. It allows us to practice, even when we can’t meet.”
It’s not just Perales that is taking note of the changing landscape of cloud-based instruction — softball’s nationally known instructional quartet, The Packaged Deal, also makes use of the 21st century innovation. Not only can the Sting check on what their coach has to say, but they call also hear and watch from some of the game’s biggest names.
His modifications in coaching have translated into a great amount of success for the Sting. Last season, at Triple Crown’s TC/USA Nationals in Reno, NV, the Sting rode a wave of momentum right into the championship game of the 16u division. Narrowly taken down by the Oklahoma Exclusive, 6-5, the Sting and their skipper still look back on that moment as the highlight of their summer season.“It was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Lindsey Walljasper, who pitched for Perales in the championship game. “Although it wasn’t the outcome that we wanted, I am very proud of what my team and I accomplished.”“That was a huge moment for us,” Perales said. “Not only was it a great experience for us as a team, but I think it was easily our best tournament of the year.”“It was exciting to have the opportunity to play at the University of Nevada-Reno,” said Sarah Wulff, a former player of Perales. “Playing in the championship game was an unforgettable experience.”
Wulff has been loyal to the Sting since joining the organization, but the fundamentals of softball aren’t the only tools she’s picked up from Perales.“I originally joined the Sting because the organization had an excellent reputation,” said Wullf."But what stands out significantly from my time with the Sting is respect. I have learned respect for my coaches because of their commitment and willingness to accept nothing but the best that we have to offer. I have learned respect for the players because softball is a team sport and every player holds value and is an essential component to the team’s synergy and productivity. I have learned respect for my family because they have sacrificed so much to provide this rare opportunity and have been my biggest supporters through it all. Respect is what Coach Bob and his staff have taught me and it is applicable in all areas of life.”
This month, Perales and his new batch of 14u talent will make their way to Hemet, California for the 2016 Zoom Into June event. The Sting are no strangers to Triple Crown softball events as Perales recollects contending in TC tournaments for well over 10 years.“I remember when it was just Tony Rico that ran that tournament by himself,” said Perales. “Ever since Triple Crown and Krista (Crawford) have stepped in, they have rolled out the red carpet for us.“They have done everything to get us in front of the big coaches and playing on the main fields and we certainly haven’t forgotten it. There are a lot of new ventures out there and a lot of teams are jumping ship to go play in newer tournaments, but we wanted to stick with an organization that has always taken care of us. I’ve always said that we will go where my girls can get the best exposure. Zoom Into June is a tournament that attracts the best competition and the best college coaches.” Perales and the Sting have showcased their prodigious play over the past decade-plus, but for Perales, it’s always been about the double play. No, not your garden variety 6-4-3 inning ending, get-you-out-of- trouble double play. He’s more interested in getting his players to realize their dreams and then doing everything he can to help accomplish them.
“As in softball and in life,” says Perales. “I tell my girls it’s nice to get the double play, but you have to get the first out.”While Wulff and Walljasper are on the homestretch of turning their own double plays, Perales has a new crop of youthful talent just trying to get their first out; Zoom Into June marks an early step in that process.Judging from the success and development from his current Sting players, don’t expect anything less from the new regime.As Walljasper puts it, “Once you put that San Jose Sting uniform on, there’s no going back.”
Chiara Biagini (Santa Clara) - 1st Team All Conference
Kiki Carlos (Hawaii) - 2nd Team All Conference
Maddie Carlson (SJCC) - 1st Team All Conference
Kristen Clark (UCSB) - 1st Team All Conference
Maureen Duddy (Marist) - 1st Team All Conference
Adriana Ibarra (SJCC) - All State, 1st Team All Conference
Jazmyn Jackson (CAL) - 1st Team All Conference
Amanda Llerena (Sonoma State) - 2nd team All Conference
Andrea "Sug" Lopez (SJCC) - 2nd Team All Conference
Morgan Martinelli (Dartmouth) - 2nd Team All Conference
Mackenzie Murphy (Williams College) - Pitcher of the Year (rookie season), 1st Team All Conference
Lorena 'Lo" Ukanwa (Amherst) - 2nd Team All Conference
Tatiana Venegas (SJCC) - 1st Team All Conference
Amanda Ogata, Kenyon College, going deep!
In a recent double header against Oberlin, Amanda Ogata put on an offensive show, hitting for the cycle (single, double, triple and home run) to help Kenyon to a sweep of Oberlin. As you can imagine, hitting for the cycle is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish in softball or baseball, with the triple being the hardest hit to get.
Ogata went 6 for 8, with 8 rbis between the 2 games! Amanda leads her team with a blistering .507 batting average, way to go Amanda!
Click on the link to read about our Sting alumni representing their various colleges
Kayla Rooney, CSU Monterey Bay
Taylor Klauser, Colorado School of Mines
Mackenzie Drake, San Jose State softball
Alexis Lindsey - University of South Carolina
Lizzy Beutter - UC San Diego
Eleni Spirakis - Santa Clara University
Jacqui Prober (2nd from right) and Jenna Crawford (on end, right side)
*newest commitments in BOLD
Class of 2017
Class of 2016
Class of 2015
Class of 2014
Class of 2013
Class of 2012
The Sting family was deeply saddened to learn of Bob Randall's unexpected passing on Friday, March 4th. His daughter, Dani played for the Sting and as a former Sting coach, Bob left his mark and then some on our organization and all of softball. How to describe Bob.....
- All in
- Fiercely loyal and devoted
I could go on and on, he's that memorable of a man. Once you met Bob Randall, you never forgot him! His smile and laugh were contagious and his bear hugs were legendary. He loved the game of softball and gave his all to the players fortunate enough to have played for him. Our heartfelt condolences, prayers and love go out to the Randall family. Larger than life? Absolutely!
Julie being presented with a plaque by Sydney (#9) and the Sting team, after winning a breast cancer awareness tourney Fall 2014
It is with a heavy heart that the Sting family shares that we have lost one of our biggest fans and supporters, Julie Loeffler. Julie passed away on February 20th after a courageous battle with cancer over the past few years. Julie was a shining example of bravery, toughness, courage and love for the game!
Julie's daughter, Sydney has been with the Sting family since Fall 2014 and Julie loved watching her play! Please keep Sydney, her brother Kyle and her father, Larry (Julie's husband) in your thoughts and prayers.
Also, a site has been created by a Loeffler family friend for donations for the family in this time of need:
Julie Loeffler's love of the game started way back, here is her high school team photo from 1988 (Julie is seated - bottom right)
Sydney and her Sting team playing in a breast cancer awareness tournament in honor of Julie, Fall 2015
Please forward any articles/box scores or player recaps (for all levels within the Sting Softball Organization) to the following e-mail address for website consideration:
The San Jose Sting is an independently operated California Corporation and is committed to being a superior girl's fastpitch softball organization.