Whether she’s diving and stretching her body out for ground balls or pivoting and driving her body to turn a clutch double play, shortstop Jennifer Lewis makes plays at an elite level.
Lewis is finishing her collegiate career with a slew of honors. She was named to the first team All-California Collegiate Athletic Association after a great 2016 season. On Thursday, Lewis was named to the 2016 Academic All-District Softball Team, which recognizes the top student-athletes across eight geographic districts in the United States and Canada. First-team Academic All-District honorees advance to the College Sports Information Directors of America Team ballot.
“Jen had a really great year – the first team All-CCAA was definitely deserved by her,” head coach Lisa Allen said. “She worked hard every day. She’s one of the first to practice, one of the last to leave – whether it was taking more ground balls or getting more reps off the tee or even doing field work – I think that shows what kind of player she is and how bought in she was to SF State softball. All around a great person that does well in the class, very motivated.”
Lewis is humbled by the honors she’s received. Despite the individual success she had, batting .306, collecting a team-high 54 hits, a home run, 19 RBIs and boasting a career-best .963 fielding percentage – she credits her team for her success.
“I have to thank my team, coaches and family for all the support they’ve given me throughout the years,” Lewis said. “I wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff without their support.”
Her love for the sport and competition fueled her to work hard so she could take her talents to the professional level once she got older. Teammates and coaches pushed her to be the best which helped her “dream big.” Lewis’ hard work opened up an opportunity to make her dreams of being a pro softball player a reality. On May 9 she tried out in Dallas for a team from the National Professional Fastpitch, and she has another tryout May 29.
The NPF’s inception began in 1991 when the National Fastpitch Association was established. The league only had two teams by 1993. The league currently has six teams that vary in roster size. Next year the NPF is expected to add more teams as part of expansion efforts, according to its website.
“I’ve always wanted to continue playing softball,” Lewis said emphatically. “I’m hoping to continue playing after college. I love the sport so much.”
Allen played in the NPF after she graduated Oregon State and advised Lewis to go out and be herself and play her ball.
“The important thing is that she needs to go be Jen Lewis and do what she can do and enjoy the experience,” Allen said.
Senior pitcher Jenny Obemma entered the softball program with Lewis and witnessed the hard work and dedication she put into the team and sport.
“Jen has always been a very hard-working player,” Obemma said via email. “She is very dedicated to the sport and improving her skills. She does a lot for the team and has been a wonderful teammate for the last four years.”
Lewis leaves SF State softball with a career .294 batting average, 183 hits (8th all-time in school history) and 34 doubles (4th all-time).
Allen had some final words for Lewis and the other graduating seniors.
“Remember that whatever they put their minds to, they’re capable of,” Allen said. “They’re an amazing group of girls and they’ve come a long way and helped mold this team. They showed everyone that if you buy in, things can go their way and the hard work will pay off.”