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Future college softball players like SBU’s Kaiden Weisbrod guiding Jackson to hot start

Senior Kaiden Weisbrod, who is verbally committed to Southwest Baptist, is one of Jackson’s four seniors who will play college softball next fall. Photo by Jay Forness

While Jackson softball’s senior class fields four future college players, these Indians still want to make history in their final year of high school ball even though they’ll be continuing their careers at the next level.

One of those seniors is future Southwest Baptist Bear-cat Kaiden Weisbrod, who is Jackson’s leadoff hitter and right fielder this fall. While fielding a .429 batting average, Weisbrod is far and away the Indians leader in runs (11) and stolen bases (eight), and she also has a perfect fielding percentage.

“I’m excited about this season — we’ve all played together for a little bit,” Weisbrod said. “We’ve come together as a team, and now we’re ready to go further in the season and hopefully go to state.”

As far as verbally committing to Southwest Baptist goes, Kaiden explained that she did so because she likes the environment. “It’s a Christian university, and I’m big on my faith, so I decided to follow what God was leading me towards,” she said.

It shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that a talent like Weisbrod will be continuing her career at the next level since she’s been playing softball for 12 years. Kaiden said it means a lot to her that she has achieved her dreams of playing in college and thanks God for every second she gets to be on the field.

Through the first seven games of the season, Jackson has only suffered one loss to fellow Class 5 school Rock Bridge at 15-5, which only suffered two losses last fall as one of those was to the eventual state champions Blue Springs South.

Outside of the Indians lone loss, they’ve picked up two wins over district opponents Oakville on Aug. 25 and Lindbergh last Wednesday by scores of 9-2 and 7-4, respectively. Along with that, Jackson also handed Francis Howell (5-1) its only loss of the season by a score of 2-1, where Weisbrod scored one run and stole two bases.

“Lindbergh was definitely a tough win, and we stuck together as a team,” Weisbrod said. “Anytime we fell, we hyped each other up and that’s why we won.

“With it being our senior season, I think we’ve got winning a district championship in the bag, but you never know. We’ll just hype each other up and pick each other up no matter what. It’ll mean a lot.”

Jackson also showcased itself as one of the dominant teams in Southeast Missouri with a three-inning, 19-0 win over Perryville on Senior Day Thursday. Weisbrod scored three runs, stole two bases and drove one runner home.

“Offensively, I like to look at the defense and see where they’re at, and I like to make sure I get on base no matter what happens,” Weisbrod said. “If I get a walk, I get a walk. If the defense is playing in, I’ll just hit it over their head and score for my teammates in order to win.”

Weisbrod’s fellow seniors who will also play in college are third baseman/pitcher Zoe Flath (Missouri Baptist), first baseman Kam Tucker and utility Ella Mangels (both Mineral Area College). Like Kaiden, Tucker also has a .400 batting average (.421) and has hit one of Jackson’s two home runs while driving in seven runs.

Flath paces them with a .389 batting average, along with her seven hits, five runs scored, four runs batted in and three stolen bases. Zoe has also pitched eight and a half innings and currently has an earned run average of 2.42, which is second for the Indians behind sophomore pitcher/center fielder Ashlyn Dawes’ mark of 1.47.

“We’ve just worked hard, and we’ve put in the work everytime we’ve had a chance,” Kaiden said.

One of the keys about Jackson this year along with its college-level senior talent is the talented youth the team possesses in a player like Dawes, who has struck out a team-high 15 batters through 19 innings. Ashlyn is also a standout at the plate as she’s currently batting .500 with eight hits and seven RBIs, and she’s also scored two runs of her own.

Another key for the Indians has been junior catcher Jaylie Walther as she’s leading Jackson starters with a .600 batting average off her team-high nine hits with one of them being a homer. She’s also recorded four RBIs and six runs scored.

Fellow junior short stop Miley Conklin has also been one of the Indians top batters once again this fall. Conklin is currently batting a .389 average with seven hits, and she’s driven in six batters and scored six runs.

“There’s definitely a big connection between us all — we’re like one big family, and we help each other out no matter what,” Weisbrod said. “When one player gets down, we’re there for each other.”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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