Moore relishing time with Ducks
Jessica's Moore inbox was inundated. Positive text messages had besieged her cell phone.
From friends to family to people she didn't even know, their excited words poured in after seeing a certain info-box pop up onto their TV screens:
5-foot-10 ... Freshman ... Sutter, Calif. ... 2010 2nd team All Pac-10.
The girl they once knew as a standout softball player in the Mid-Valley was all grown-up, wearing University of Oregon colors and pitching in the NCAA tournament with the camera's of ESPN focused on her every move.
"I didn't even expect it," she said of the texts. "I had a ton."
From being the leader of the Huskies softball team to appearing on "The Worldwide Leader in Sports," Moore's evolution during her first season of collegiate ball has been nothing short of "awesome," she said.
"Yeah, it was awesome to have that experience to get through regionals and make it to super regionals," she said by phone from Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday.
Moore (16-13) finished the her freshman year with a 1.86 ERA, 238 strikeouts in 192 innings pitched. Her performance through the season, including an arduous Pac-10 schedule — the best softball conference in the country with seven of the eight teams making the field of 64 postseason — meant she was handed the ball in the most crucial moments of the season.
That's when those text messages started appearing. Under the spotlight of national television, she pitched a complete-game shutout to lead the Ducks past Auburn, 1-0 in her first postseason start and helped push the Ducks past host school Georgia Tech and into an NCAA Super Regional — the "Sweet 16" of college softball.
Though the Ducks fell to Missouri, including a 1-0 loss in which Moore's lone run was unearned, she is still enthused about a postseason that saw her go 2-2 with a 1.79 ERA.
After getting that far as a freshman, the only logical goal for next season is the College World Series, she said.
"We definitely have the confidence that we can be there now," she said.