Fulfilling a dream

Jayna Hance to continue softball career at Northwood

News File Photo Rogers City’s Jayna Hance takes an at-bat during a quarterfinal game against Inland Lakes. Hance has verbally committed to play softball at Northwood University.

Jayna Hance has always had the drive and passion for softball.

In a game that features many ups and downs, Hance has excelled on the diamond more times than not. Her hard work and determination has helped her become a star on any team she plays on. All of the time she has put in to getting better on the field has led her to fulfilling a dream.

Hance has verbally committed to Northwood University and said she will be a member of the Timberwolves’ softball program.

“I chose Northwood because when I was looking into schools there was just something about Northwood that sparked my interest. When I had the chance to speak with Coach (Gregg) Sauve at Blue Chip recruiting camps, he seemed like a really friendly guy and we developed a connection right away,” Hance said. “I had the chance to talk with him again and his assistant coach on my visit to Northwood and they truly made me feel at home. I was able to tour the campus and see how great the school really is. I fell in love with everything and I knew this was the right fit for me.”

Hance has already put together quite an impressive resume in her young softball career. She began playing travel ball at nine years old on a 10U team for Michigan Elite out of Grand Rapids. Hance has gone on to play for other travel teams including the Michigan Hurricanes and is now playing for Turnin2 out of Brighton, which is one of the top travel teams in the state.

Hance began her high school career starting as a freshman. Hance joined a Rogers City softball program that was just two years removed from winning a state title and was stacked with talented players.

“Northwood is very lucky to be getting a player like Jayna. She works so hard and she loves the game. She’s a very good kid to coach and will do anything you ask her to do to the best of her ability. She can hit, run, bunt, field and pitch so what ever the plans are for her at Northwood they’ll be lucky to have her because she’s a very versatile player and I think she’ll do very well,” Rogers City head coach Karl Grambau said. “She has developed into a great hitter and pitcher since her freshman year. She continues to get better and better each year and we’re looking forward to having her this year and again next year and then Northwood gets her after that.”

Over the past two seasons, Hance has been an important member of the Hurons, who continue to be one of the top teams in Division 4. Hance has been the team’s No. 1 pitcher since her freshman year. During her first two seasons, Hance led her team to back-to-back North Star League, district and regional championships.

Hance has earned first team all-conference, all-District and all-region honors. As a freshman, she hit her first career home run and was an all-state honorable mention as a pitcher. She earned the same honors as a sophomore, but last year earned first team all-state honors as a pitcher.

“Playing as a freshman on our high school varsity team has taught me how to compete early on another level. My high school coaches believe in me and my teammates and I are such a family,” Hance said. “I appreciate every one of my teammates and we have played in many big games together in more than one sport and we feed off each other in competition.”

In order to be successful during the high school season, Hance spends her summer competing with and against many of the top players in the state. This past summer, Hance was awarded the Most Valuable Pitcher award after leading the Michigan Hurricanes to a 16U USSSA Great Lakes National Tournament championship. It wasn’t the first championship team Hance was apart of during the summer as she also led her 13U and 14U teams to championships.

Hance attended the Michigan Blue Chip camps and met with Brian Chidester at College Bound Jocks, which is becoming one of the largest and most respected recruiting sites on the web. Chidester helped Hance put together a recruiting tape and her talent eventually caught the eye of several collegiate coaches, including Sauve.

Despite being committed to a college and knowing she will continue her softball career after high school, Hance is focused on getting better and continuing to put in the work necessary to continue being a top player.

“Being recruited and committing to a college as a junior in high school motivates me to work harder. I am extremely thankful for the honor and do not want to take it for granted. It certainly takes some pressure off knowing where I am going to college because now I can enjoy the process and work on my development. It is my hope that my high school teammates and I can win a state championship before we graduate,” Hance said. “I would like to thank my parents and my older sister, my teammates, my high school coaches, my travel ball coaches, Michigan Blue Chip camps, College Bound Jocks, and Coach Sauve at Northwood University for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of playing college softball.”