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Blazers' Stanaland signs with San Francisco State
Senior pitcher progresses from project player to all-area standout
She arrived at Lindhurst High with a 40-mph fastball and flawed mechanics that would leave her freshman frame throbbing in pain.
Three year's later, that's all changed. Once a project player, Jordan Stanaland is now a future NCAA athlete.
Last Thursday, the Blazers pitcher inked a national letter of intent to play for the San Francisco State softball team. In a ceremony attended by more than 100 supporters, the senior officially accepted a partial scholarship from the Division II program.
"I was overwhelmed with happiness," Stanaland said. "I love softball so much and that was my goal, it was my dream to play in college."
As a ninth grader, Stanaland's natural talent led her to the varsity ranks. But coach Bill Biggs had to help the freshman retool her game so that she wouldn't be hurting herself after just a few innings of work.
"We had to redo just about everything," Biggs said. "It was a lot of work on her part."
Her dedication showed. She can now healthfully eat up innings while firing off pitches at highway speeds. During her junior season, Stanaland held opposing batters to a .124 clip and finished off the year with a 0.66 ERA.
When not stepping into the circle at Lindhurst, Stanaland spent her offseasons playing club ball, representing a sea of local teams from the Sting to Chaos to Drop Zone.
Through club ball and with the persistence of people like Biggs, who will do "everything he can" to get players noticed, Stanaland started to garner attention from college programs.
Delaware, Upper Iowa, CSU-Bakersfield and CSU-Stanislaus all expressed interest in the Marysville teenager, not to mention a host of others who were a little too late.
"I've (received) e-mails expressing interest in seeing her and I said 'sorry, she's already signed,'" Biggs said.
After spending her entire life in the Mid-Valley, Stanaland is excited to move to the city and meet new people, she said. Her dorm room will be across the street from the Gators softball field, where she will play against California Collegiate Athletic Association opponents like Chico State and Cal Poly Pomona when not taking classes in psychology or child development.
"I loved it," she said of the campus. "It wasn't too overwhelmingly big, but it wasn't too small either."
But before she takes her six-pitch repertoire to the Bay Area, she still has one year left to play with the Blazers and work with Biggs, who joined her in the Lindhurst gym on Wednesday evening for a one-on-one workout session.
"I like having to work hard," she said. "It means more when you win."