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ASU baseball, softball scholars shine bright

Despite graduating, 2 of ASU's standout student-athletes haven't slowed down as they finish spring sports season


woman playing softball
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May 23, 2016

The spring semester may be over, but spring sports are still on, and that means the schedules of two standout Sun Devil athletes haven’t slowed down — despite having graduated.

Jordan Aboites, infielder and right-handed pitcher for the ASU baseball team, and Sun Devil softball center fielder Jenn Soria will stay busy at ASU through the end of May, and perhaps longer if they make it through regionals.

portrait of ASU baseball player
Jordan Aboites

It’s all in a day’s work for Aboites, who is known not only for his talents on the field, but in the classroom as well. Aboites is a two-time Pac-12, All-Academic honorable mention recipient and a five-time scholar-baller — distinctions he earned for having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher during his season.

He is the 63rd Sun Devil to contribute both as a pitcher and infielder during his sophomore and junior years. He has also lettered three times, meaning he has been a key contributor on the varsity team for the past three years of his college career.

“People see perceived advantages of what athletes have over regular students, but I would counter that what people don’t see is the hours they put in on the field,” said Tracy Smith, head baseball coach.

“They have to have tremendous discipline,” he added. “They have to carve out the time to focus on their studies because no matter how good you are, your career in baseball will come to an end and you have to be prepared for that.”

So how has Aboites, who graduated this May with a bachelor's in communicationAboites also had a minor in family and human development, from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences., managed to balance such a host of responsibilities over the years?

“I think definitely kind of giving yourself a set schedule to follow is big,” he said. “We have our time on the field and we have a schedule we have to juggle with that, but having set times in the morning and night to put aside for homework is big.

“It’s definitely nice to get recognized and mentioned on the academic side. The fans and the people who follow baseball don’t get to see all the work that we do behind the scenes, and to get recognized for the hard work off the field … it’s nice to see your name up there for that.”

His game plan is not limited to college, either.

“Going forward I’m planning on getting my master’s, which I’ll start working on after this year,” he said. “I’ll see what happens with the MLB draft, but if not I’ll be a grad assistant here or at another college.”

He says he also plans on getting into coaching at some point in the future.

Soria has also been putting in overtime on and off the field. She earned a 3.49 cumulative GPA during her final semester at ASU and was a Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention recipient in 2015.

A career .247 hitter prior to 2016, Soria is batting .353 on the season (third on the team) and leads the team with 13 home runs after having just eight total in her career prior to this year.

woman playing softball

Sun Devil softball center fielder Jenn Soria (here and in top photo).

“Students like Jenn make it easy,” said Robert Wagner, co-interim head coach of ASU softball. “They come in motivated, and it takes a lot less to coach students like that. Some students don’t have the same kind of drive, which makes it more difficult from a coaching standpoint.”

Soria, who graduated this May with a bachelor's in family and human developmentSoria graduated cum laude from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences., says time management is the most difficult part of her life.

“It’s been different each year building my classes and stuff,” she said. “I took a heavy workload my freshman and sophomore year and then it eased up my junior and senior year.”

Even in her early freshman days, her schedule was something out of left field.

“My freshman year was by far the hardest because of the culture shock,” she said. “I would get up at 5:30 for weights, shower, have class till 1, and practice till 5. Then from 6 to 8 we would go to study hall, do homework, then head off to bed so we could get up the next morning and do it all over again.”

As far as the future is concerned, Soria plans on staying put.

“I plan on getting my master’s, becoming a graduate assistant for the softball team and staying in Arizona full time,” she said. “As a graduate assistant I’d be helping the softball team any way I can, like at batting practice or in the cages. It’s not really coaching, more of a managerial role for the team.”  

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