It seems Jordan can play ball, after all

By Gus Bode

Freshman outfielder leading team in hitting

FACTOID:Indiana State comes to IAW Fields to face the SIU softball team in a MVC showdown starting Saturday with a noon doubleheader. The two teams finish their three-game series Sunday with a single game at noon.

When a bat and ball and the name Jordan are mentioned, images of Michael Jordan’s failed minor league career pop into mind.


Luckily for the SIU softball team, their Jordan freshman outfielder/catcher Katie is not failing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Jordan currently leads the Salukis in batting average (.298), runs (18), home runs (3), total bases (38), walks (20), on-base percentage (.433) and is tied with Adie Viefhaus for the team lead in hits (25). She ranks second in triples (1), RBI’s (11) and slugging percentage (.452).

Success on the softball field in nothing new for the Fenton, Mo., native and she hopes to continue it this weekend when Indiana State comes to IAW Fields for a three-game series starting with a doubleheader Saturday at noon.

During her time at Rockwood Summit High School, Jordan was a four-time 1st team all-state, all-metro, all-district and all-conference team member. She hit .473 her senior season and is a member of her school’s Hall of Fame.

One of the few questions about Jordan was whether or not she would be able to torch collegiate pitching the same way she did high school pitching.

Jordan admitted noticing the differences, but said it didn’t really bother her.

Another question was where to play Jordan.


Her high school position, catcher, is occupied by senior Karrie Fortman so the Salukis needed to find a new home for their slugger. That position turned out to be left field.

SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock said the way Jordan has hit didn’t surprise her in the least bit. What did surprise her was how well she played her new position.

She’s a pleasant surprise in the outfield. I didn’t realize she could play as well as she could and with her arm, she’s done a great job, Blaylock said. And with Elissa [Hopkins] being hurt [earlier in the season], she really came in and gave some valuable innings and is still doing that.

Despite missing the fall season due to sickness, Jordan’s fellow Salukis were able to see in practice that she was going to be a key part of the team.

She’s just an all-around athlete, Hopkins said. She has very good defensive skills and she’s just awesome at the plate. I’d say she’s all-around probably one of the best athletes on this team.

Jordan said it was Blaylock’s enthusiasm and coaching style which made her decide to come to Carbondale.

She added quality of the team didn’t hurt, either.

I thought [SIU] was going to be my best chance to go somewhere, to be in a conference championship, just to take it to the next step, Jordan said. Not just play our regular season, but keep going and I felt the team here was going to be the best of any of the schools I visited.

Blaylock is happy Jordan chose to join her club, not just for what she brings on the field.

Katie is a pleasure to be around, Blaylock said. She’s the consummate student-athlete. She’s a great student, she’s a very good athlete, she works real hard and I think the thing that she’s done is she’s getting better and better.

One of the things helping Jordan continue to get better is the fact she isn’t alone in having to contribute as a freshman. The Salukis have five freshman and they all figure to play a big part of the direction the team heads the next four years.

Having a big freshman class has really helped because there’s always someone else that’s going through the same thing you are at the same time, Jordan said. It kind of makes it seem like it’s a whole big transition instead of just one or two people trying to adjust.

Reporter Jens Deju can be reached at [email protected]