Duke Will Have A Five-Tool Star In 2021 Jada Baker
Jada Baker first arrived at Duke University for a softball clinic prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with her travel softball team, Lady Dukes-Lamar, and it was then that she was sold.
At that clinic, the current senior from Longwood, Fla. knew she wanted to become a Blue Devil due to the combination of Duke's softball coaching staff, the university's high academics and the overall feeling she got while on campus.
“As soon as I had gone to Duke, I was just blown away by everything,” Baker told Softball America. “It was so beautiful and I just love the coaching and everything about it. And when I first committed, which was on September 1 (2019), it was super exciting.”
Throughout her high school softball career, Baker has earned first team all-conference honors after putting up some gaudy numbers. The shortstop compiled a .439 batting average with three home runs and 16 RBI during her junior season before it was cut short last spring. But her disappointment over having a shortened high school season was alleviated in November when she became one of seven 2021 recruits to sign with the Blue Devils as members of the softball program's Class of 2025.
Duke head softball coach Marissa Young knows that she has a special player in Baker, who is ranked No. 60 in Softball America's 2021 Top 100 Recruiting Rankings. Young calls her a five-tool player with a strong arm, who can hit for both power and average.
“She exemplifies the caliber of the player and young woman we look to have join our program,” Young said. “Jada's work ethic, high character and toughness are a reflection of her amazing mother. She is a gifted player that we expect to make an immediate impact on the field and in the locker room.”
Though Baker gave her verbal commitment to Duke prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she wasn't able to attend her official visit to the university because of the virus. Instead, she has been able to talk with some of Duke's current players through a big sister program and has already gotten to know some players in her recruiting class.
Currently, Baker is training for her final travel softball season. As of now, it is unclear if her high school team will have a spring season due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. But, whenever she has the chance to play softball again, Baker plans on treating each game going forward like it is her last.
“My goal is to treat every game like it's my last,” Baker said. “As of right now, you don't know if you're going to still be able to play in tournaments, if the summer season is going to still be able to be played. So I will just treat every game like it's my last and just have fun.”