Softball Factory alum and University of Texas softball second baseman and outfielder Janae Jefferson has been chosen as one of 25 candidates for the reputable Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year award.
When looking at her numbers on the 2018 season, it is easy to see why she is in the running for such an honor. Jefferson has seen action as a starter in all 49 games and has held the Longhorns’ top spot in batting average (.418), hits (64), runs scored (24), on-base percentage (.494) and multi-hit games (20) while picking up 10 extra-base hits, 22 walks and 20 RBIs along the way. Her 64 hits have the Humble, Texas native tied for fourth-most in the Big 12 Conference and her strong on-base percentage is third-best in the Big 12. The 2018 season has included a career-high 16 straight games of getting on base for the advertising major, who also set a new Texas record when kicking off her collegiate career by recording a hit in each of her first eight games as a Longhorn.
Jefferson left quite an impression on our Softball Factory staff after her appearance in the 2017 Softball Factory All-American Pre-Season Tournament and the hot start she has had to her collegiate softball career does not come as a surprise.
“Janae knows how to play,” Senior Director of Softball Factory Lea Ann Jarvis recalls. “She’s athletic, has a good idea at the plate and is solid in the outfield and demonstrated all those things at Pre-Season when we saw her. So, when I found out that she was going to play at Texas, it made sense. I felt like she would be a great fit there and would do positive things there, and she’s definitely done both. This honor is well deserved.”
If Jefferson is chosen as the Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year she will be in the familiar company of two fellow Softball Factory alumni; UCLA’s Rachel Garcia and Florida’s Amanda Lorenz who received the prestigious honor in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The 2014 recipient of the award, Tennessee’s Annie Aldrete, is the sister to Baseball Factory alum and 2015 Under Armour All-American, Carter Aldrete.
The list of 25 candidates will be cut down to 10 on May 10th and then narrowed down to the final three on May 23rd. The winner of Schutt Sports/NFCA Division I National Freshman of the Year trophy will be announced during a live ceremony at the annual Women’s College World Series banquet in Oklahoma City, Okla., on May 29th.