Two Whitmer softball players selected for prestigious showcaseWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
She may only be 15, but Whitmer sophomore Jordan Hanf is already making a name for herself in her young softball career. On Jan. 5 and 6, Hanf will participate in the Queen of Diamonds Showcase North (QDSN) at Kent State University.
Now in its 19th season, the QDSN attracts athletes from more than 20 states and two Canadian provinces. Both the QDSN and its sister showcase — the Queen of Diamonds Showcase South — have more than 2,000 applicants, of which just over 260 girls are selected to participate. Hanf was one of those selections.
“It’s going to be really fascinating just to meet new people and have actual college coaches looking at me and hoping that some of them would want me to be with them in the future,” Hanf said on participating in the QDSN. “I’m just going to give it my all to prove to them that I want to become a professional softball player.”
Joining Hanf at the QDSN will be Whitmer junior Meghan Franz. Franz earned first-team honors in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference last season as an infielder, helping the Panthers place in the top four of the league.
Entering his 18th season, Whitmer varsity softball coach Mark Figliomeni said he didn’t recall ever having two girls from his program being selected to the QDSN in the same year.
“I think that the pool in this area of softball talent continues to improve at every school,” Figliomeni said. “We’re the beneficiary of a lot of good summer programs and a lot of good summer travel teams and a lot of good travel organizations, and we’re no different than many of the schools in the area that there’s just a tremendous pool of talent coming our way.”
Hanf has been playing softball since she was 5 years old and started playing on travel teams in junior high. That experience helped her land a spot on Whitmer’s junior varsity squad last year as a freshman.
“She’s a devoted softball person,” Figliomeni said. “She just loves the game, works hard at it [and] has worked hard to improve her game.”
As a member of the Lady Lightning travel team this summer, Hanf batted .367 with an on-base percentage of .523 and a slugging percentage of .655. A versatile player who’s taken the field at second base, third base and in the outfield, Hanf also had 20 stolen bases, four homers and just two errors with 130 put outs.
“I mean, it’s been my dream ever since I was little to be a part of all this,” Hanf said. “It doesn’t seem real to me that I’m in [the QDSN] and doing all this. I’m just overly excited.”
The largest fastpitch softball showcases of their kind in the United States, the Queen of Diamonds showcase events feature not only a crop of North America’s top prep players, but also coaches from across the collegiate spectrum.
Coaches from the East Coast, South, Midwest and South Central states are expected to be in attendance, representing schools from the Division I level all the way through the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) and NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Assocation) levels.
“It’s very prestigious in this area,” Figliomeni said of the QDSN. “It’s tough in this area, in this part of the country [to get exposure], but they do their best at getting them as much exposure in a cold environment as they can. Again, it’s a lot of girls who apply.”