Jen Dixon’s competitive softball career may be over, but it ended at a pretty high level.
After finishing her senior year of softball with the Minot State University Beavers, the 21-year-old Brandonite headed back over the border to try out for the Canadian junior softball team. She survived the first camp but was one of the last cuts before the roster was finalized.
Although it’s always tough to get cut, the 5-foot-9 left fielder and pitcher was appreciative of her time with the program.
"It was tough at first, being cut from anything is hard, but I’m just happy I went and the experience was cool to see how they play there and run things," Dixon said.
"I’m disappointed I didn’t make it because it would be a huge experience, but even going there and playing with those players was enough. Their talent was unreal, so it was really great to play with them and I guess that’s where I end my softball career. I would say it’s a good place to end it."
Dixon got the opportunity to try out for the junior national team when she caught the eye of the squad’s head coach. He followed her final season in Minot and she didn’t disappoint, which led to the tryout invitation.
She posted a .387 batting average with 12 home runs, 36 runs scored and 42 RBIs in 49 games with Minot State, as well as a .958 fielding percentage.
On the mound, Dixon had a 6-6 record with one save. She posted a 4.22 earned-run average with 63 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings of work. That helped the Beavers go 15-13 in conference play, 29-20 overall, and reach the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament.
Minot State played three games in the 10-team double elimination event and had its season end with a 5-4 loss to the Concordia University, St. Paul Golden Bears.
Dixon was happy with her personal accomplishments during the season, but admitted it was an emotional roller-coaster knowing that it was her final year of playing college softball.
"From day one it was emotional," said Dixon, who’s back in Brandon and helping coach the under-16 Westman Magic girls team this summer. "I put those thoughts aside and played like I always have played. Obviously by the end when it started to wind down it started to become more real.
"Definitely more emotional. I never thought I would be as emotional as I was, but I guess you don’t know till you get there."
While Dixon doesn’t expect to play competitive softball again, she is leaving the door open to join a senior league in the future, but it won’t be this summer.
Dixon still has one more year left to complete her education degree and one more year of eligibility in volleyball, which she will finish with the Beavers.
Once again, Dixon will be dealing with the emotions of being in her final year of eligibility, but she thinks she’ll be much more prepared for how to deal with it.
"I have to focus on volleyball. I haven’t played for a while and I have to get into the swing of things," she said.
"Again it’s my last year and everything is coming to an end. I guess now I know how to handle a senior season, so I’m really looking forward to that volleyball season. I think we’ll have the strongest year we’ve had yet and I’m looking forward to that and getting ready for that."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 11, 2014