Swinging for the fences

Saniya Jones races toward home plate for a run during her junior season with the Lions. File photo

 

One of Saniya Jones’s favorite memories of playing softball for the Louisa Lions came in 2017 during her freshman season.

In the team’s Conference 19 championship against King George that May, Jones kicked off a six-run Louisa surge with a solo home run in the game’s fourth inning.

“I knew I had big shoes to fill that year,” she said. “I had a lot of nerves, but after that inning, I really began to get comfortable. I felt like I had a more meaningful role to play, like I had a bigger part on the team than any other sport I’d played.”

Jones got back to the plate later in the inning and tallied a single, then notched an RBI and scored the game’s final run in the sixth, helping Louisa clinch an 11-0 victory over the Foxes. 

Jones began playing softball at a young age and quickly fell in love with the game.

During her sophomore and junior seasons in Louisa, Jones continued to make contributions to the team, including two home runs and 10 RBIs in the 2019 season. She’s also been an effective force on defense at both second and third base, the latter being her primary position.

While she enjoys both, Jones says she prefers playing third base.

“You never know when something’s coming to you,” she said. “You have to be on your toes at all times.”

Beginning next year, Jones will be on the field at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland, playing for the Bulldogs’ softball team. One of the biggest factors in her decision was getting to join in on a practice during a visit to the school.

“I really felt comfortable with the team and the staff and I just loved the vibe of the team,” she said. “I’m excited for the competiveness. Their head coach [Eric Powell] is building a winning program there.”

Jones plans to study accounting in college and said she was impressed with how the professors at Bowie State “took the time to work with and got to know their students on a deeper level so that they could help individuals and cater to their specific needs.”

Like many athletes this spring, Jones was gearing up for her senior season when the coronavirus pandemic closed schools and cancelled the spring sports season. While Jones said she’s sad to have missed out on the memories of her final season, she’s using the loss as motivation.

“It made me realize [I shouldn’t] take anything for granted, and it’s motivated me to work harder and be better,” she said. “I’m getting out and working every day so that I can start [at Bowie] like I didn’t miss this season.”

Even with her focus now turned to the next step on her journey, Jones is still taking time to pause and reflect on her time in Louisa and the people she’s played softball with over the years.

“I really want to thank my coaches and teammates for supporting me,” she said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.”

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