Leadership isn’t always about who’s the loudest, biggest or has the most on-field experience. JMU softball has several key players, but one of the team’s youngest athletes has quietly emerged and stood out with a strong second season to show that sometimes the best leaders use actions rather than words. Sophomore infielder Sara Jubas delivered another solid performance against the College of Charleston in a weekend doubleheader Saturday that further highlighted her improved play from last year.
“I think I’m just more prepared,” Jubas said. “I just try to hit the ball hard all the time.”
For Jubas, this style of play isn’t anything new and has been consistent all season. She’s produced 47 hits in 107 at-bats, 38 RBIs and seven home runs so far in her second year with the Dukes. She has also won the CAA Player of the Week award twice this season alone — the first time was back on March 5 and the second was April 15. When comparing her play from this year to last year, the McDonald, Pennsylvania, native immediately credited her coaches.
“I think since last year, I’ve definitely been able to get a lot stronger,” Jubas said. “[Strength and conditioning coach Christian Carter] has helped with that a lot off the field, so I think that’s made a big difference.”
Jubas’ strong play this season has also been observed by her teammates. However, sophomore pitcher/infielder Hannah File’s history of playing the infield with Jubas spans longer than this year.
It has led to the impressive chemistry displayed by the two both on the road and in front of the fans at Veterans Memorial Park. File and Jubas have been teammates for the past six years after playing for the Beverly Bandits youth softball organization, and File still loves taking the field with her.
“Sara’s just phenomenal — she’s really humble,” File said. “To be back together and just have each other’s backs is an awesome feeling.”
Head coach Loren LaPorte also expressed how much of a difference she can see in her infielder’s play in her second season as compared to her first. To her coach, Jubas’ newfound approach and strength at the plate has made a big difference for this season.
“Last year she hit the ball well, but this year she has a lot more power,” LaPorte said. “Her at-bat has changed tremendously.”
To LaPorte, Jubas’ impact doesn’t end after the game has reached its final out. Her impact off the field as a straight-A student and as a good teammate also motivates her team and brings them together outside the game. The only thing LaPorte has been challenged by this year with Jubas has been to get her to break out and be louder as the team’s starting shortstop.
“Sara’s actually kind of like the little sister — everybody loves her to death,” LaPorte said. “I’m still trying to get her out of her shell just a little bit more because she is very quiet.”
Sara Jubas’ stock is rising with the Dukes, and there’s nowhere to look but up for the sophomore athlete as she continues her young career with JMU softball. She may be young, quiet and humble, but Jubas is all business come game time and has big aspirations for this year. Her goals for this season mirror the ultimate goal of her teammates — winning.
“We want to go to the World Series,” Jubas said. “We want to go as far as we can into the playoffs; I just want to win.”
Contact Jordan Simal at email@example.com. For more softball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.