The pressure is off for McPherson High’s slugging senior catcher Jasmine Wann.
Arguably one of the top softball players in Class 4A Division I, Wann on Monday signed a letter of intent with Bethel College, freeing her up to concentrate on helping the Bullpups to perhaps reach the state title game for a second straight year.
“It’s a huge relief,” Wann said. “Finally deciding and just getting everything set in stone so I don’t have any more questions — it’s just done.”
Wann, a Bullpup starter since Day One, is coming off a sensational junior year in which she blasted away at a .483 clip. She made only three errors behind the plate and has one of the top throwing arms in the state as few runners dared trying to steal on her.
MHS, which had never been to the state tournament before, advanced to the championship game last year before losing to Augusta. Wann is one of several key players returning for the Bullpups, who are expected to be ranked in the Top 5 in the preseason.
Bethel coach Stacy Middleton, who has led the Threshers since the school added softball in 2011, was beyond ecstatic to sign a player of Wann’s ilk as she could be the centerpiece of her recruiting class, which already numbers eight.
“She has some untapped potential,” Middleton said. “She can play anywhere. If I needed her in the outfield with her speed, if I needed her at shortstop, she could do any of that. So I’m looking forward to using her versatility, and especially at the plate. She can swing it a ton. So that’s awesome.”
Wann said she wouldn’t mind at all playing another position, especially the outfield since that would take some of the wear and tear off of her legs. She has been playing competitive softball for eight years, counting all her summers with the McPherson Lady Express.
“I’ve always wanted to be an outfielder,” she said. “Just runnin’ and divin’ for balls. It’a always been a dream.”
Wann is known for her competitive nature as she plays every play as though the outcome depends on it.
“I can see her coming in and being a leader almost immediately,” Middleton said. “She will bring fire and definitely a lot of energy to our practices and to games.”
Bethel will have a senior catcher next year, who doubles as a pitcher. That’s why it’s essential that Middleton needed to add a player like Wann.
Middleton was one of the reasons Wann chose Bethel.
“Stacy was a big factor in that,” said Wann, who has been on the Threshers’ radar for a long time. “She really wanted me to play for her, being I would be a big factor for their team, I could really help them, maybe make them better.”
MHS second-year coach Danica Fitzmorris is excited that her senior standout has made her choice.
“I think talent-wise, she’s going to be phenomenal at that level,” Fitzmorris said. “She can bring some leadership and really good hitting skills... I’m excited for her... I think that will relax her for the season.”
Wann, who will major in graphic design, already has a state championship to her credit. She was one of the driving forces behind the Bullpup girls winning the state bowling championship last year. She has the school records for both the high game (256) and high series (699). She is expected to be a contender for the individual state title this year and the Bullpups also have an excellent shot of repeating as a team, raising yet another banner in the Roundhouse.
She is the daughter of Darcy and Tom Wann.