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Jada Cody, Battle-Tested UCF Believe Big Things Are Ahead

jada cody photo by ucf athletics.jpg
(Photo by UCF Athletics)

Every morning before she left for high school, Jada Cody got up and took 200 swings. She was someone who rarely started games back then, and tended to be overlooked in travel and high school ball, so she was hungry to prove herself.

With diminished confidence due to a lack of playing time, it wasn't until UCF head coach Cindy Ball-Malone (Bear) noticed what Cody really had to offer that jump-started a whole new ballplayer within her.

“When Coach Bear was recruiting (me), she called me and said, ‘I want you to be a part of this program and I see potential in you,’” Cody said. “She said, ‘I want to build this program up, and I feel like you have potential to help with that.’ Once I heard that from a D1 college that is respected in our game, I needed to start seeing it for myself.”

As soon as she had that assurance, all the right things began clicking for Cody, who certainly proved what she is capable of on the field.

Now, Cody is a force to be reckoned with at UCF, ranking third all-time in home runs (29), fifth in RBIs (130) and seventh in runs scored (126).

“It definitely shows that hard work pays off in the end,” Cody said. “It is crazy to say that I was not that successful in high school and travel ball. Just to see where I am now is a great feeling. I didn’t start out like this.”

Becoming the player Cody has during her time with UCF is rooted in the work ethic her hitting coaches have instilled in her. The game-like situations the Knights simulate in practice have forced Cody to become mentally and physically stronger. Through setting up tough situations with players on base, batters are forced to make smart decisions at the plate.

“Here at UCF, we do a lot of live situations,” Cody said. “Runner at second and third with two outs, runner at third with two outs, etc. We put that pressure on in practice and make practice harder than it is in a game, so when the game comes, we have already done this and it’s easy.”

Cody's 2022 season was crucial to UCF making it to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time in program history. Setting UCF’s single-season RBI record with 75 and leading the Knights with a .361 batting average, Cody, along with the rest of the Knights, want to reach even higher in 2023. By the end of this season, the team wants to achieve its goal of being in Oklahoma City at the Women's College World Series.

“This year’s goal is to be in the top eight,” Cody said. “Where we are right now, there might be more failure than success, but it is preparing us to be a top eight team. It is not going to be easy. We have one of the toughest schedules in the nation, so I am glad Coach Bear has created this schedule for us to be tested at the beginning of the season. We are getting tested left and right right now, but it is going to help us.”

Aside from all the history Cody is making, the biggest goals on her mind this year are to never stop improving and to keep providing her team with the offense it needs to win.

“Without all the accolades around it, the next big thing for me is being consistent and being able to hit each part of the field, put a bunt down and use my speed a little bit more,” said Cody. “I think that is definitely going to help me up my game a little more this year.”


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