On game day, it all comes pretty easily for Jordyn Rudd — and the analysis of her softball success is usually just as elementary.
“I liked it, so I hit it,” the Center Grove junior was wont to say after one of her many titanic blasts.
The reason that the games seem so simple, though, is because of her attention to detail during practices. Rudd puts in plenty of work, and that work has paid off handsomely.
After a monster season both at the plate and behind it, Rudd is the Daily Journal’s 2017 Player of the Year for softball.
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“She’s just on a different level than most of the kids in this state,” Center Grove coach Russ Milligan said.
Rudd ranked among Indiana’s top five in most major offensive categories. She led the state in OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) at 2.077, was tied for second in batting average at .667, tied for third in home runs with 15, and fifth in runs batted in with 58.
Amazingly, she did all of that without striking out once in 115 plate appearances. (She’s whiffed just four times in three varsity seasons.)
Just don’t ask Rudd for an in-depth scientific breakdown of her performance.
“There’s not much science behind it when you actually get in the game,” she said. “Practice is more, you think more about everything, you try to correct everything, perfect it, and then games are just, you do what you’ve done in practice.
“It’s pretty much always been simple, because I work really hard outside of games.”
In addition to dominating with a bat in her hands, Rudd also served as the Trojans’ defensive backbone as the starting catcher, where she finished the year with a .994 fielding percentage. Only 11 runners attempted to steal on Center Grove this season, and Rudd threw out five of them.
Having someone with Rudd’s feel for the game made life considerably easier for Milligan when the Trojans were in the field.
“She calls an awesome game,” he said. “I never call a pitch; Jordan calls all that.”
“I feel like I’m into every pitch, and that’s the nice thing about catching,” Rudd said. “You basically determine what’s going to happen, almost, so it’s pretty nice.”
Jordyn Rudd was arguably the top hitter in the state of Indiana this season. A look at where she ranked by category:
Runs batted in;58;5th
OPS (on-base plus slugging);2.077;1st
The 2017 All-Johnson County Team for softball:
Nikki Abrams, Center Grove senior: Delivered as a pitcher for the Trojans, going 12-1 with a 0.97 ERA and just 17 walks, and also at the plate, where she hit .358 with 19 runs batted in.
Ryan Bauer, Greenwood senior: Heart and soul of the Woodmen was a four-year starter at second base and a steady presence near the top of the lineup. … Batted .315 with 16 RBIs in her final season to finish her career with an average above .300.
Piper Belden, Center Grove sophomore: Batted .468 with 34 runs scored and 19 RBIs while also providing sparkling defense at second base, particularly during the postseason.
Sidney Beier, Edinburgh sophomore: Ranked among the top hitters in Class A with a .521 average, 12 home runs and 45 RBIs. … Scored 37 runs and posted an on-base plus slugging of 1.798.
Hanna Burris, Center Grove senior: Solid center fielder who also provided a spark at the top of the Trojans’ lineup, batting .532 with 59 hits, 42 runs scored, 18 runs batted in and seven stolen bases.
Maddi Clark, Edinburgh junior: Helped pitch and the Lancers to semistate by winning 10 games with a 1.46 ERA and 148 strikeouts against just 13 walks. … Also batted 474 with 29 runs scored and 17 RBIs.
Abby Herbst, Center Grove sophomore: Wisconsin commit was one of the state’s top two-way players, batting .625 with 19 doubles and 48 RBIs while also going 16-1 in the pitching circle with a 1.02 ERA, 106 strikeouts and just 15 walks.
Rachel Kyle, Indian Creek junior: Academic All-State selection earned Western Indiana Conference recognition after hitting .412 and leading league champion Braves with 25 runs scored and 23 RBIs.
Maddy Margraf, Whiteland junior: Batted .415 with three home runs, 18 runs batted in and 20 runs scored while also anchoring the Warriors defensively from the catcher position.
Jordyn Rudd, Center Grove junior: Led the state in on-base plus slugging (2.077) and ranked among Indiana’s top five players in batting average (.667), home runs (15), runs batted in (58), on-base (.722) and slugging percentage (1.354).
Kasey Wilhoit, Indian Creek junior: Purdue commit and All-WIC performer led the Braves offensively with a .526 batting average, 33 runs scored and 12 stolen bases while also playing a strong center field.
Bailey Woodall, Edinburgh senior: A sparkplug at the top of the batting order (.471 average, 27 runs, 19 RBIs, 10 steals) and an effective pitcher (10-1, 1.25 ERA, 84 strikeouts, 10 walks) for the Class A regional champion Lancers.
Lindsey Boltz, Whiteland; Delanie Gourley, Whiteland; Morgan Haynes, GCA; Kaitlin Heffner, Greenwood; Brianna Howard, Edinburgh; Maddie Keeley, Center Grove; Rilee King, Franklin; Dori Knight, Indian Creek; Tyler LeMasters, Center Grove; Jessica Lupinetti, Center Grove; Sidney Logsdon, Indian Creek; Payton Parker, Franklin; Tara Pennycuff, GCA; Skye Scott, Whiteland