Sahvanna Jaquish Is A Force For Athletes Unlimited
Coming back for her third season of professional softball with Athletes Unlimited, Sahvanna Jaquish is ready to take the field and break some records later this month.
Jaquish is currently tied with Erika Piancastelli for the most single-season home runs in AU history with nine, and now the chase for more is on.
But in a grateful realization for Jaquish, softball has become about more than just focusing on the numbers. For Jaquish, it's also about enjoying the opportunity to play professionally in the first place and creating a fun environment with her teammates.
“Stelli, I'm coming for you,” Jaquish said. “I love joking with Stelli about (breaking the record) because everyone knows home runs are not in the batter's control. I just have fun up there at the plate and take what the pitcher gives me.”
Jaquish did not play with AUX this summer, the two-week competition that coincided with the 50th anniversary of Title IX, because she was competing with Team USA throughout June. But she will return to the field for Athletes Unlimited's championship season in Rosemont, Ill. starting July 29.
In a new training experiment, she has spent most of her practices this year using baseballs to save her arm from straining, considering all of the games on her schedule this summer. Her coaches and the baseball players she has been able to work with have helped her see the game in a new light, and she is loving her process now more than she did before.
“My preparation has been fun,” Jaquish said. “I’m at the point now where (my practice) is less mechanical and more feeling and flow. I’ve been training with baseballs because they have less impact on my arm and they are smaller, so I have to really refine my focus and be intentional with my vision.”
Though she'll be playing on different levels this summer, Jaquish is most excited to learn from the incoming AU rookies. The addition of so many accomplished players coming straight from college gives her the opportunity to see what skills they can swap with each other.
“I’m always most excited about the rookies,” Jaquish said. “I love learning from them and watching their style of play. We have a lot of extraordinary talent and great personalities coming in. (The Player Executive Committee) did a great job picking solid humans that will level up AU season three in every aspect, on and off the field.”
Being that she has been on the journey with AU since the league's beginnings in 2020, Jaquish wants the incoming players to know that it is a great organization to play with professionally, and contributing players are creating a new wave of talent within the sport of softball.
“My advice would be to enjoy the moments, the environment, get to know some new people, don’t be afraid to ask questions and have fun,” Jaquish said. “Everyone from the staff to the management and the athletes at AU work together to create a safe environment where new players can just be themselves, be treated like pros, have fun and play amazing softball.”
Jaquish was a team captain 12 times last season and enjoyed drafting her own team from scratch. She plans to finish in at least the top four by the end of this coming season.
And while playing among other amazing athletes makes that goal tough, she says she is indebted to AU because of the opportunities the league gives to women to play at one of the highest levels in the sport. It was always her childhood dream to be a professional athlete, and she respects the hustle everyone around her puts in to make it possible for themselves.
“I’m beyond grateful for AU and the ability to continue my career, and the careers of other incredible female athletes,” Jaquish said. “It blows my mind to think that my teammates are Olympians, All-Americans, national champions, impact players, leaders and captains of their universities and underdogs that have earned the same respect. All of us train hard all year to play some great ball and do something special in Rosemont.”