WXXV Student Athlete of the Week: Harrison Central Softball’s Jayla Ladner

There’s not always a rhyme or reason as to how the WXXV Student Athlete of the Week comes to be, but this one was pretty hard to ignore, three different nominations on our website for Harrison Central softball standout Jayla Ladner, who’s ready to go out with a bang for her senior season.

The game of softball came naturally at a very young age for Harrison Central senior Jayla Ladner. “I’ve been playing ever since I was five. I haven’t missed a season since. It was mainly my parents who kept pushing me to keep going and to do my best and you know, you start out with rec ball, and then you get to travel ball and fall in love with it and you just keep going.”

Ladner is in the hot seat when she plays third base, but she truly comes alive when she is inside the pitcher’s circle.

She has many different pitching options in her pocket, but her favorites are a screwball and an off-speed curve ball.

Her favorite part of the sport is the people she shares the diamond with. “It’s the connections that you make with your teammates and your friends. You make friends for a lifetime. Some of these girls I’ve been playing with since I was five years old, so just to grow up together and to see their accomplishments is just one of the good things we get to see.”

Softball is Jayla’s true love, but she is also super passionate about getting plugged into several different groups and organizations.

Ladner is a member of Key Club, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, National Technical Honor Science Society, and she has competed in DECA for three years.

Most importantly to her, Ladner is an active member at Robinwood Baptist Church.  “God has been my push through this whole time, you know, I wouldn’t be where I am today without him so I play for him. I don’t play for myself and I don’t play for anybody else… I play for God, so that’s what gets me through the hard games and the good games.”

Head Coach Jimmy Parker said, “She’s very popular on campus. Everybody knows her because she’s so involved. She’s a leader out here. She sort of mother hens a few of them and then she doesn’t mind telling them what they need to do and gets them straightened out too.”

“Now just being that person that people look up to, you know, you’ve got to check yourself first. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing the right thing and then just to see the light click in some people when you’re trying to help them and just see them grow too is also just a really warm feeling.”

Jayla will be back at the bottom of the totem pole soon, but for a very good reason. This past November, she signed to continue her softball career with Bishop State Community College.

She says Bishop State is where she felt the Lord has called her to continue her career, but it’s still going to be hard to leave the Red Rebelette squad. “It’s surreal I mean I’ve been here since I was in the sixth grade and you know, practicing every single day. I’m with these girls more than I’m at home most days, so just thinking I’m not going to be here every day is kind of sad, but I’m excited for the next chapter and I look forward to seeing what these girls do after we’re gone.”

But no need to think about leaving just yet because her last season in the red and black is only getting started. “We’re expecting a lot of good things out of her. We should have a good pitching staff, but we need her to keep hitting too. I think with her and other pitchers, we’ve matured as a group from last year, so I think I’m looking for her to carry us a long way.”

“It’s an honor to be playing with Coach Parker and to have all these expectations to live up to. We’re looking for a district championship this year and to make it back to state.”

Categories: Student Athlete of the Week