FARMER CITY — As a four-year starter, senior Jordyn Fones has enjoyed considerable success on a Blue Ridge High School softball team that’s won more than 100 games during her high school career.
Batting leadoff and patrolling centerfield, Fones has played a key role in the success of this year’s Knights’ squad that advanced all the way to Monday’s sectional championship game against Danville Schlarman before seeing the season come to an end with a 6-5 loss.
The Knights have had extended runs through the postseason in each of her four years, only to be eventually knocked out the first three times by Heart of Illinois Conference rival Tri-Valley. Blue Ridge turned the tables on the Vikings this year with an emotional win in the championship game of the Class 1A LeRoy Regional.
The Pantagraph caught up with Fones before the Knights’ 8-1 win over Central A&M in their sectional opener last week to learn more about her high school career and her future plans.
Question: After all the years of disappointment, how big was that win over Tri-Valley?
Fones: “That was more than you can imagine. Going into that game was nerve wracking, but beating them was the best feeling and we felt like nothing could stop us. We had the momentum and everything.”
As a four-year starter, how have you seen your game improve over the years?
“I remember being a freshman and the mental mistakes freshmen have. Every year I improved so much in my batting. I’ve been more confident in everything I do and I’ve turned into a leader.”
What does your leadership role entail?
“If someone makes a mistake I’m there to help them figure out what they’re doing wrong and telling them it’s okay, you’re going to go through that and this is what you can do better and you’ll get it next time.”
Have you always considered yourself a leader, or is this something that you grew into?
“Definitely I’ve grown into it. Coming in as a freshman I was a little, shy kid and I’ve seen people depending on me and it showed me that I had to step up and be a leader.”
How many positions have you played in your four years?
“I’ve played the outfielder as a centerfielder. Maybe right field and left field a couple of times, but mainly I’ve been a three-year starter as a centerfielder. I love being in control in the outfield, and centerfield is the one that has to know the most about the outfield. I love centerfield.”
What do you consider to be the strength of your game?
“Definitely my speed whether it’s bunting, making a single into a double or running in the outfield and being able to get to balls.”
Do you play other sports?
“I played volleyball for three years and this fall I played soccer. I got burnt out on volleyball and soccer is more conditioning and running more and I wanted to get conditioned for softball, so I chose that.”
What kind of future plans do you have?
“I’m going down to the University of Alabama-Huntsville and I’ll play softball down there next year and study civil engineering. The school is very engineering based. They have NASA right there in Huntsville. and there are over 250 engineering firms, so that’s definitely their strength.”
What do you do for fun?
“Just hang out with my friends and go and watch other sporting events and watch sports on TV. I watch baseball, football is the big thing, men’s basketball and, of course, softball when it’s on.”
Are you sad to see your high school days come to an end?
“I’m sad to see it go, but I’m ready for the next chapter. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ll never forget it, but I’m ready to move on.”