There’s a certain expectation to being a senior on coach Tony Wolfe’s Buford softball team.
Wolfe puts a ton of responsibility on his senior class to pour out the knowledge, skills and understanding they’ve learned in their high school career into their younger teammates.
If his young freshmen take away half of what second baseman Jordan Deep can teach them, Buford (10-1) will be in good hands for a long time.
Deep, a Georgia Tech commit, recently set a Buford record for most career home runs with a solo smash in the first inning against Region 7-AAAAA’s Cambridge.
Her home run sparked a 2-1 win last Tuesday, part of a nine-game winning streak to open the 2014 season.
Lexi Overstreet held the previous record with 24 career homers.
“It was a statement that we won’t go down quietly,” Wolfe said, resting on a tractor after Monday’s 8-0 rout of Lambert.
“Obviously, it’s a wow factor, because she hits some really, really long home runs for a high school player. Kids know what to expect out of other kids, and she never seems to disappoint.”
Hitting the long bomb is just one aspect of Deep’s game that she brings when she steps out onto the dirt.
With more than 20 regular-season games to add to her new record, she’s been working one on one with a hitting coach to work on locating pitches that were once tougher for her to reach. Deep said that Sharon Perkins, a former head coach at Georgia Tech, has been helping her become an all-around batter, a trait that will serve her well at the collegiate level.
“Some days, I feel better than others, but I’ve got to pick my pitches when I’m up to bat,” Deep said.
“It’s all pitch selection. I work on what I’m struggling with that week, and you just practice until you’ve got it.”
Considering Deep’s recent performances, the extra reps have been helping. In Buford’s four games last week, the senior went 8 for 13 with a home run, three doubles, eight RBIs and two runs scored.
For Wolfe, he’s most excited to see his power hitter come out of her shell after joining the team as a quiet freshman. Cracking into a lineup that had won the past four state championships was daunting at first, but now the four-year starter is a leader that the younger players can hope to emulate.
“She’s much more of a leader, more assertive,” Wolfe said. “It’s encouraging to see her grow as a leader. She’s a defensive player, a good hitter, a power hitter. She’s pretty much doing it all for us.”
Deep is a part of a seven-strong senior class that is vying to win a state championship for the fourth straight season and deliver Buford its eight straight title.
The hunt is nothing new for her, as she looks forward to writing her name in Buford history among other Lady Wolves like Morgan Walters and Overstreet, who have also enjoyed championship success.
What has changed is her role on the team. Deep said she sees it as a blessing to teach the younger players what it takes to be a part of Buford’s winning tradition.
“It’s my turn to step up, just like Morgan, just like Lexi, they’ve all done their share as seniors,” she said.
“I always looked up to them as people and as players. It’s a big responsibility, but I hope to lead these girls so that they can do what I did.”