An interview with Low Bobs/Louisville Slugger outfielder Jessi Griffin!
Interview conducted on 1/13/2015
Who are you playing with in 2016?
Low Bobs/Louisville Slugger
What positions do you play and what is your best position?
I play in the outfield, and my best position is probably right center.
Why do you like the game of softball?
I played several sports growing up. Competing is a way of life for me. Softball gives me that competitive outlet. I've been fortunate enough to be on teams that seem to be there at the end of tournaments, and I crave that feeling of competing for something that matters. The competition motivates me to stay in shape for softball and for life. I also get to hang out with friends and meet new people with common interests.
What is your nickname in softball and how did you get it?
I don't have one.
Where do you call home?
What's your favorite way to spend an off weekend?
I like to spend my off weekends with my kids. I have 2 sons, Hobby (10) and Bryce (7). They play every sport possible, and I enjoy watching them play whatever they are playing at that time. If they are not playing, then I enjoy hanging out with them practicing, playing table tennis, watching movies and fishing.
What do you do for a living?
I teach high school Business and Personal Finance.
Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
I played softball, basketball, and tennis is high school. In college, I played tennis my freshman year and softball for 3 years.
How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
I've played softball all my life. After college, I played in some local leagues and competitive coed tournaments. That was a lot of fun, but I wanted a more competitive environment. So, I said yes when I was asked to play on my first competitive Women's team, Dented Bats. It wasn't upper level softball, but it was a good team. In 2010, I had the opportunity to play with Enough Said, the best team in the country at the time, and I loved it. I loved the atmosphere and competitiveness of upper level softball. Since 2012, I've been able to continue that experience with Low Bobs/Louisville Slugger and have had a blast all along the way.
What was the most surprising difference between Conference play and non-Conference play when you made the jump?
The biggest difference was the skill level of the other athletes. Non-conference teams may have a few good players, but every player on a conference team is good. This leaves very little room for error. You can't afford to take innings, or even an at bat, off. A lapse in concentration could cost you a game because every player is capable of beating you. The opposite is also true. Any teammate is capable of that winning contribution.
What would you say is your career highlight to this point? Maybe one play or game that sticks out to you in particular?
Playing with Low Bob's/Louisville Slugger has been a great experience, but I would say my career highlight, at this point, is the 2010 season with Enough Said. We won five worlds that year: SBSA, BSC, BLACK USSSA, USSSA "A" and ASA. I was MVP of USSSA "A" worlds and all-tournament in three others. It was a great season with an awesome softball family to travel and hangout with.
In your career was there a single person (player/manager/coach) who had the most significant impact on your approach to the game? Why?
There are several people that have made an impact on me as a softball player. One of them is Joey Terrell. He encouraged me to play and helped build confidence in my game. Ian Houston of Enough Said showed me the importance of hard work. The coaches of Low Bobs/Louisville Slugger (Ted Carter, Gina Dennis and José Conlan) helped change my attitude on the field. They helped me become a more productive teammate/player. Without all of these people, I would not be the player I am today.
What advice can you give a young player trying to break into the upper level?
Learn the game and check your ego at the door. Learn what to do and why it needs to be done. The upper level is full of players capable of being spectacular, but upper level softball is still softball. It's about scoring more runs than the other team. To do that, you have to consistently do the routine things correctly over and over and avoid trying to do the spectacular unless necessary. The team that makes the fewest mistakes and never gives up almost always wins. Putting a bunch of those wins together is how you achieve the spectacular.
What type of batting grip do you use and what ounce bat?
I use an overhand grip and a 26 ounce Louisville Slugger Z4000 end load.
What do you do in the offseason to prepare for the next softball season?
In the offseason I workout and I take a lot of BP and fly balls.
What is your favorite sports team and your favorite sport other than softball?
I don't really have a favorite team but I tend to pull for the Georgia Bulldogs because I am a "Georgia Girl". I don't really have a favorite sport other than softball, but I love watching my kids play football. I love seeing them improve from year to year.
Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
I have a lot of superstitions, too many to list here. I have a daily routine I go through starting when I get up in the mornings on tournament weekends. However, my main superstition is to step into the box a certain way every time and call time after every pitch. If I don't do this, I feel like things are just off.
What would be your "at bat" music selection?
"I Will Not Bow" by Breaking Benjamin
What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
Make teams play where they belong. I think the associations are doing a decent job of policing this, but still too many teams are playing below their true class. If teams play up where they belong, it would decrease the financial burden on upper level teams across the country. More teams would be able to play closer to home or at least inside their region. More competition makes everyone better!
What is your favorite non-World tournament and why?
My favorite non-world tournament is the Busch/Pepsi Classic, in Little Rock, Arkansas. As of now, it's the most competitive tournament that we go to. Hopefully there will be more tournaments like it this year.
What is the best softball field/complex you have played at and why?
As an outfielder, the best complex for me is Disney. The outfield is the best I have ever played on and I've played in a lot of places. I don't have to worry about holes or unlevel ground and diving for balls is easier on my body.
Where is the best place to eat on the road after a game?
It doesn't matter where you go, you can always find a "local" pizza place to eat. I look for these when I travel to new places. I have lots of favorites in lots of the different cities that I've played ball in. There is nothing better than pizza after a game.
Tell us something about you that most would never know about you?
I went to college on a tennis scholarship and was one of the top bowlers in the state of Georgia when I was 15. I also, played the saxophone in my high school band.