Jessie Harper's maturity evident in her second year

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Chris Hook/Arizona Athletics | The Daily Wildcat Freshman Jessie Harper during Arizona's 4-2 win over Texas on March 5 at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, Tucson. Harper is one of the freshman standouts that have led Arizona to a top-five ranking this season.

Arizona softball’s Jessie Harper isn’t just a good player; she’s one of the main leaders for the Wildcats going into the 2018 season. What’s more impressive is that she’s only a sophomore. She was a first team All-American as a freshman. She started on one of the best teams in the country and learned how to play with the pressure of the expectation to win every game. She also had to deal with the disappointment of failing to make the Women’s College World Series when the expectation was for Arizona to make the trek to Oklahoma City. 

Harper has a lot of speed, agility and power at the plate, but her most useful tool is her maturity. The sophomore is already seen as a leader of the team in the clubhouse, and one of the faces of the team in both local and national media. ESPNW released their top-25 college softball players, and Harper was named number 17. The hype hasn’t reached her head, however. She actually deflected the praise on to her teammates.

“To me, it’s not about really the rankings,” Harper said. “Last year was a fun year, but I think that was based off my team’s trust in me and coach putting me out there as a freshman. We had eight seniors that really guided us, and I owe it all to them. They really showed us the ropes.”

Her maturity is as big an asset to the ‘Cats as any of her other tools. She’s been hitting with composure in the three hole this season.  She also plays in the middle of the field as shortstop, so her teammates feed off of Harper’s body language. 

Harper’s teammates also look to her off the field. Harper was wildly successful as a freshman. She was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association first team All-American.

Harper’s maturity is also evident in the fact that she’s been a role model for this year’s new recruits. 

“For the incoming freshman, I would just take it game by game, and not let the highs get too high, and the lows get too low,” Harper said. “It’s kind of one of those things, where, you don’t know what’s going to happen until you get out there, so just take it pitch by pitch, and hope everything goes from there.”

Harper has gotten off to a fast start this season. She is hitting .500 with six RBI, two home runs, two walks and only one strike out through the first four games.



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