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After Losing Arizona Offer, Emma Bordenkecher Found Home At Idaho State

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(Photo courtesy of Idaho State)

Emma Bordenkecher idolized Jennie Finch. She saw Olympians, All-Americans and a handful of the greatest players to play the sport wear the cardinal red and navy blue. The University of Arizona was her dream and it was starting to become a reality for her.

Bordenkecher made a verbal commitment to the Wildcats program early in her recruiting process. It was an offer that held throughout her high school career until the summer before her senior year. Her offer was ultimately taken away, which is an unfortunate side effect of the college softball recruiting process.

“It was really rough. I was pretty upset about it,” Bordenkecher told Softball America in a phone interview. “We had to figure out a plan real quick, we couldn’t really dwell on that. We had to figure out a plan to go to school, get an education.”

As Bordenkecher and her family looked into other options, one came to her. Candi Letts, the former head coach at Idaho State, saw Bordenkecher at a showcase tournament. Letts pursued Bordenkecher and encouraged her to visit the university in Pocatello, Idaho. Once there, she fell in love.

“I love Idaho State. I think everything happens for a reason. I see it as a blessing in disguise completely,” Bordenkecher said. “I love everything about this school; the people, the community and I’m the happiest I can be. It’s been a great experience.”

Entering her fifth season at Idaho State, Bordenkecher has found plenty of success on the field. She currently ranks in the top 10 in program history in batting average, hits, home runs, RBI and runs scored. She led the Bengals with a .492 batting average before the 2020 season was stopped short last year. That mark placed her average within the top 20 averages nationally.

Her leap in the box was powered by her confidence, she says. Bordenkecher mentioned that the failure a player goes through can be the most important tool for her later success. After only hitting for a .273 average in her sophomore year, she turned in a first-team all-conference junior season, followed by her superb season last year.

Another factor that has played into Bordenkecher’s confidence is the feeling of home Idaho State has provided her.

“I’ve made a lot of great friends here, many great connections,” Bordenkecher said. “I’ve had a lot of great relationships with people, previous coaches and the people in that community are super supportive. Everyone gets to know each other very well. I love it there.”

Bordenkecher believes that her maturity has made her realize how special the opportunity she has had at Idaho State is. She thinks it’s beneficial for girls going forward that the recruiting process is starting later on in their lives compared to during their middle school years. As a 14-year-old, Bordenkecher said she didn’t really know what she wanted from a college. She never thought she’d end up at a small school, but she’s glad she did.

“My advice to younger girls is to find out where you feel at home,” Bordenkecher said. “Getting caught up in the big school is cool, but first and foremost, you need to find somewhere you’re interested in to pursue your education and call home for four years. Sometimes people get wrapped up in the wrong things.”

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