Athlete of the Week: Jordan Rossi talks pitching and softball aiming for a post-season selection

| Managing Sports Editor

Sophomore Jordan Rossi in action earlier this season. (Clara Richards | Student Life)

The Washington University softball team has been on a hot streak the past few weeks as they look to make the NCAA postseason selection. Central to their success are the performances of  sophomore pitcher Jordan Rossi who has cemented herself as one of the best pitchers in the University Athletic Association (UAA) conference this season. In just her second collegiate softball season, the sophomore from Stamford, Connecticut leads the UAA in the least allowed runs with seven, a feat accompanied by an earned run-average (ERA) number of 1.13 — the lowest in the conference. Rossi also sits top in allowed hits among UAA pitchers who have started five games or more with 28 hits. Student Life sat down with Rossi to talk about her softball beginning, working with a new head coach, and listening to Harry Styles and Katy Perry before games.

Student Life: So walk me through your background in softball. When did you start playing? How old were you? And was this a sport that you wanted to play at a collegiate level? 

Jordan Rossi: I’ve been playing since I was 12 — so a long time. I came to WashU as a pitcher and hitter. So, pretty much still in that role. In high school, I was a first-base. I was interested in playing college softball — that’s always been my goal. I’m also an art major, so I wanted to make sure that I can do both softball and art.

SL: You have a new softball head coach this year, Casey Cromwell. Walk me through that transition from last year. What impact has she had on you, the team, and the way you guys are playing right now?

JR: So it was definitely a different transition to a new coach, obviously. But she’s been so helpful in terms of understanding my pitching and being willing to work on what I want to work on in practice. She’s always helping me in different ways whether I’m realizing it or not — always helping [by] providing any information that I may need on the field such as the other opponents [and] scouting reports. You read those, and they’re very helpful in terms of our competition. 

SL: Coming back to you personally, your pitching stats have been fantastic. What’s your mindset like going into those games to allow you to produce those numbers day in and day out? 

JR: Well, I obviously look at the scout reports of seeing the other competitions’ strengths and weaknesses. Also, I really like having a relationship with the catcher, working with them [to] figure out if certain pitches are good enough. Basically, in the bullpen is when I figure everything out — it’s like anything is working. And then when I go into the game, I feel really strong and confident based on what is working that day, and [I’m] figuring out what to do in certain situations.

SL: What do you do for fun? Do you like listening to songs before games?

JR: Yeah, usually I just listen to music. Do you want specifics?

SL: Yes.

JR: I usually listen to Harry Styles, One Direction, or some Katy Perry.

SL: Any Harry Styles or Katy Perry songs in particular?

JR: The classics, usually.

SL: Talk to me about the current season right now. You guys are on a hot streak. What’s the dynamic within the team been like these past few weeks? What’s working for you guys as you head into the final conference games?

JR: I think the biggest factor is hitting. I know [that early] in the season, we struggle a little bit to get our bat on the ball, but we’ve been working really hard in practices, and we’ve been trying to find different ways of how to be better as a team. I think it’s been really effective these past couple of weeks, if you can see, and I just feel like we’re closer as a team. And that definitely helps in that mindset of playing — just relying on each other’s strengths and hoping that [we can] get back out whenever it [is] happening.

SL: Going off of that, based on the season that you are having right now, what’s the goal for you personally, or just for the team in general?

JR: Well, obviously Brandeis is coming next week, and our goal is to perform really well against them. In terms of the NCAA, getting the selection poll — that’s our goal. So our dynamic is to continue to focus on our skills, which has been a little bit of a challenge. But in the past couple weeks, we’ve really stepped it up. Focusing on our skills, relying on each other, and backing each other up if things go wrong — that’s pretty much the goal. 

SL: So, last question. We ask this in every Athlete of the Week interview. Would you rather have fish for hands or adopt a child every time you hear Bohemian Rhapsody? 

JR: Adopt a kid. I do love Bohemian Rhapsody though, so I would listen to it a lot.

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