Between The Lines - Huddleston

    Go Hoosiers! Freshman Jennilee Huddleston hit her first collegiate home run against then-No 9 LSU on Feb. 19.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Freshman Jennilee Huddleston hit her first collegiate home run against then-No 9 LSU on Feb. 19.
    Go Hoosiers!
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    Georgia Beauty Turned Shortstop
    Many girls grow up with the image of participating in beauty pageants. At a young age, parents often dress their young girls up in cute dresses, nice dress shows and their hair perfectly done. For Indiana freshman Jennilee Huddleston, she had the best of both worlds competing in beauty pageants one day and playing softball the next. She was a winner at both as the Peachtree, Ga., native won nine pageants during her youth and a softball scholarship later in life.

    "I was in a lot of beauty pageants until about the eighth grade," said Huddleston. "On the softball field I am very tough, but off the field I am pretty girle. I like make-up and I like to dress-up, and it was always fun playing the roll of beauty queen and wear the big pretty dresses."

    Huddleston started playing softball at the same time she was competing in those pageants. As a kid, she always played something, but eventually softball took over.

    "I was young when I started playing. I always loved playing sports and softball just stuck with me. Softball really got serious with me when I was 10. I was playing almost all year round."

    Huddleston went on to star at Starr's Mills High School, where she lettered in softball all four years. She endured many accolades during her high school tenure, including Rookie of the Year as a freshman, Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and Offensive Player of the Year and Mrs. Fayette/Coweta County Player of the Year as a senior. Even with all those awards, Huddleston says it was her play during the summer club ball seasons that had her thinking about playing at the Division I level.

    "When I was in high school, I started playing gold ball club softball and I played against a lot of talented players. Playing against that kind of talent really got me thinking about getting a chance to play at the collegiate level."

    The girl that the team has nicknamed "Georgia" has made an impression on her teammates with her toughness and play on the field. Huddleston currently has a sore hip, but she still started the Hoosiers first 27 games of the year, ending all theories that a girl can't be tough.

    "I just get tough and go out there," said Huddleston. "I know my team needs me out there and that's the mentality that I have."

    Huddleston is currently fourth on the team with a .269 batting average. She is tied for second on the team with nine runs scored and is fourth on the squad with four walks. "Georgia" hit her first collegiate home run against then-no. 9 LSU on Feb. 19. She has also played am admirable shortstop considering she is just learning the position for the first time, having spent her high school career as a third baseman.

    "I knew the pitching would be pretty tough, but playing in the summer in the gold ball leagues got me ready to play right away. Most of those girls that pitched in the gold ball leagues are Division I pitchers now. I know that I need to get better defensively and I believe that the more I play there than the improvement will come."

    Asked if her beauty pageant experience has any bearing on softball, Huddleston says that all the pageants and contests have helped her succeed on the field.

    "You are always in the spotlight and by yourself in a beauty pageant," said Huddleston. "I think that has definitely helped me deal with the pressures you face when you are up at-bat in a big situation, or out there on the field by yourself making a play. It taught me to focus and to know exactly what I have to do in every situation. "

    Between The Lines is a feature that will give you an inside look at the student-athletes that make-up the Indiana University Softball Team. Between The Lines will be posted at least twice a week, while selected features will be inserted into game programs at IU weekend home softball games.




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