Join Our Newsletter! Get The Latest Delivered Right To Your Inbox

The Diary Of A College Softball Player - Season Reflections

duke softball 2023.jpg
(Photo by Duke Athletics)

What a year! What a season! Year three was everything I did not expect and more.

As written earlier, I had high expectations for myself going into this season. I was confident on all levels and ready to compete with anyone who stepped into the opposing dugout. I had goals to be an All-American and for my team to make it to the WCWS. Granted, every little girl wants to achieve those accomplishments, but I truly believed I would.

As I am sitting here watching the WCWS from home and not an All-American this year, it is bittersweet. It sucks knowing what could have been, but I am okay. I am happy. I am proud of myself and my team for what we accomplished in 2023.

After losing my grandparents and having many tough moments during the season, I wanted to give up. I did not want to have to continue to put myself through the grind of the season, while also grieving. It was too much for me and there were way too many tears. But, I knew my grandparents would not be proud if I gave up, so I forced myself to show up each day. Some days were great, and some days were terrible, but I still continued to show up. Each day, I constantly replayed my grandparents’ voices saying, “Go Ahead J,” to motivate me each day.

Thankfully, I was able to earn All-Conference and All-District CSC Academic honors, and help my team make it to another super regional. I learned how to speak up for myself, give myself grace and push through adversity, all by constantly showing up, thanks to my grandparents. I am 110% positive I made them proud.

My team constantly showed up as well. Many people counted us out before the season even started. “This is Duke’s rebuilding year,” “They will fall out of the rankings,” “They are too young a team,” “They will not recover from losing six standout seniors,” “They won’t even make the NCAA Tournament,” were all comments we heard. Well, we proved everybody's expectations wrong. Each day, we showed up together wanting to prove to ourselves we do not care about the outside noises. We knew who we were as a team.

It was an amazing experience to be a part of Team 6. Our squad was something special. We continued to make history by hosting super regionals for the first time. We ranked the highest we’ve ever been nationally in program history. We beat ranked opponents who were supposed to shut us out. We finished in the top tier of our conference. We realized we were a damn good team. We did everything everybody expected us not to do. It’s the best feeling when you prove everybody wrong.

Team 7 is only going to be better. Each year, our program reaches new heights. I have a feeling we will make it all the way to the WCWS. It was a sick feeling knowing we were right there, able to taste the WCWS experience, but it was all taken away.

Individually and collectively, we are evaluating our shortcomings and building upon our strengths and weaknesses to become stronger for next season. It's only a matter of time until February is right around the corner again. I am anticipating a season to remember for Team 7!

Thank you for going on this season's journey with me. It was a pleasure for you all to take a deep dive into my world. I hope I inspired someone, gave beneficial advice and made you smile. This has been an honor! Surely, it will not be the last time you read my words.

jala wright pitching photo by Duke Athletics.jpg

The Diary Of A College Softball Player - Postseason Time

Duke junior pitcher Jala Wright shares her excitement about the postseason starting in college softball.

of Free Stories Remaining