VALDOSTA -- Jade Jarvis has had a good look at Georgia's rise to the upper echelon of college softball.
From third base, behind the plate and in the batter's box, that is.
Jarvis, the former Lowndes High softball standout, has been a big part of Georgia's 114 wins the past two springs. She's also seen the Bulldogs win a Southeastern Conference championship and play in two NCAA regionals.
"It's definitely more than I expected," said Jarvis from Athens, where's she's finishing up summer work. Jarvis is coming back home this week to conduct the Bulldog Basics Fast-Pitch Softball Camp at Lowndes High. It includes a three-day individual camp for girls ages 8-16, set for Thursday through Saturday, with a team camp on Sunday.
Call the Lowndes High office (245-2260) for more information.
A shortstop in high school, Jarvis has settled in at third base and catcher for UGA. The catching part is in the family, since her father Eric and brother Jacob have also been behind the plate.
"Coach (Lu Harris-Champer) recruited me as a hitter and catcher, but she needed me to step in at third base," said Jarvis, who says she may see more time at catcher next season.
This biggest bummer of her two-year career? She missed 27 games in the middle of this past season with a broken wrist.
"When you have to sit out, it shows you how much you can miss it," Jarvis said.
Playing against LSU in an early-season tournament in Columbus, she had to go back into second base head first on a pickoff play. She was safe, but soon found out there was a problem.
"I knew I was hurt. The trainer looked at it, and my middle finger was out of place," Jarvis said. "I went back out to play defense, but I couldn't throw the ball six feet."
Even worse, she was just hours from facing the powerful USA Olympic team in an exhibition game as part of the group's preparation for next month's competition.
But she came back and finished on a hot streak, going 7-for-16 with a triple, a home run and five RBI in the NCAA regional. The Bulldogs finished second to Washington, just missing out on a trip to softball's College World Series.
"You want to get hot at the end of the season, and I was seeing the ball big," said Jarvis. "I tend to hit better pitchers better."
She finished the 2004 season hitting .292 with three home runs and 18 RBI. That was almost 100 points better than her freshman season.
"We had a new hitting coach this year (Alan Reach). He gave me a new stance and defintely helped me with my mechanics and seeing the ball better," Jarvis said. "I gained a lot more confidence at the plate."
She takes a break from preparing for fall practice and the 2005 season by coming back to the Lowndes High campus. While the Viking softball team has been the dominant program in South Georgia, there are few high-level opportunities for players in this area as compared to those in North Georgia.
That's what this week's camp is for.
"I want to give some knowledge to the girls. It wasn't like that when I was growing up," Jarvis said. "I can pass my experience to the younger girls so they'll have a little knowledge."
Among those expected to help Jarvis this week are Bulldog teammates Julie Milner, Nicole Barber and Jodi Dyer, former Bulldog Laurie Davidson and Jarvis' former travel team teammate Janet Kearns, a pitcher for Division II power Kennesaw State.
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