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Jasmine Williams Balances Softball At Oregon, Motherhood

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(Photo by Sam Marshall, Oregon Athletic Communications)

Since the moment she stepped on the field donning green and yellow, shortstop Jasmine Williams (formerly Sievers) was a star for the Oregon Ducks.

She posted a .326 batting average in her first college softball season in 2019 and led the team in slugging percentage, extra-base hits and doubles. That performance led to numerous honors for the then-freshman, including a First Team All-Pac-12 nod.

Then, in 2020, as the world was going through unprecedented changes, so was Williams.

On Oct. 18, 2020, she announced on social media that she would be opting out of the 2021 season because she was three months pregnant.

From some followers, she garnered love and support. From others, she garnered resentment. Williams, however, ultimately knew she had to make the best decision for her and her new family.

On April 24, 2021, Williams and her husband Zee welcomed their son Zee Brysen Williams to the world.

"Last year, it was hard, but it was also a blessing for me," Williams said. "I think everything happens for a reason and to be able to come back, that's a blessing in itself, and I am just really grateful to be here today."

With the encouragement of her husband and her team's support, Williams decided to return to Oregon for her redshirt junior season after time away with her family.

"I feel like I have done a really great job being present here, and then when I go home and flip the switch, I'm a mom, I'm a wife," Williams said. "I don't bring anything to each place. The girls are really understanding of where I am at in my life and my roles, so that is really nice."

Through her time training and practicing with her teammates in the fall, Williams felt confident that she was ready to go for the start of Oregon's 2022 season last month, less than one year postpartum.

"I asked her early on if she was nervous or what, and not at all," Oregon head coach Melyssa Lombardi said. "She was ready to go. She's been waiting and geared up for it."

Quieting everyone who doubted her, Williams' return to the softball field helped her team right away. She's posted two doubles and seven RBI to date this season for the No. 13 Ducks.

"We missed her last year," Lombardi said. "Just to see her back out on defense and to do what she was doing at the plate, it was good."

Williams has worked to become a better woman on and off the field. In the last year, she has gone through life experiences that many of her peers have not, shaping her into a leader for the Ducks.

"I obviously went through a lot last year that has helped me mature way faster and grow," Williams said. "I think that is why I'm more mature now and kind of let things go and don't let anything really affect me the same way I used to."

This season is already gearing up to be a great one for Williams and Oregon. However, she will have another tough decision to make once it gets closer to ending. She must decide whether or not she will return to Oregon for one more year.

"I already feel as if a part of me, the mom part, is a little guilty not always being with my son watching milestones," Williams said. "But also, the other part of me knows I am doing this for my son and showing him that his mom managed being a mom, a student-athlete and playing softball at D1 Oregon. That's great."

As of now, nothing is set in stone for Williams and her future at Oregon, but her main focus is to be a mentor for her teammates, a standout for her coaches and an inspiration for her family.

"The coaches have been so supportive of me," Williams said. "I love being out here and my life with my husband and my son. I am so thankful that they even get to be here with me, and that we are all experiencing this journey together."

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