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Confident Seneca pacing Plum softball

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 1:11 a.m.
Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Jordan Seneca scores a run against Fox Chapel in a game at Fox Chapel earlier this season.

There was a time when Jordan Seneca handled negativity with a kick and cloud of dust. A fielding error or groundout often was followed by obvious signs of discouragement and frustration.

“This year is a lot better,” said Seneca, a junior shortstop on the Plum softball team. “I have matured a lot. I recover more if I start to seem down or make a mistake. If I bobble one, I don't pout about it.

“College coaches don't want a negative player. They want a strong, confident one.”

An example of Seneca's mental growth came in last Saturday's loss to McKeesport. After her first strikeout of the season, she recovered with poise.

“I knew I could let it go,” Seneca said. “Before, I might miss every grounder after that or keeping popping out. But I singled the next time.”

Seneca's confidence has shown, especially at the plate where she's compressed the softball to the tune of a .731 batting average (19 for 26). She has 13 extra-base hits, including a career-best four home runs.

She's gone from moping around the dugout to roping around the bases.

Plum (7-2, 6-1) has a new, on-campus field this season, and the Mustangs are 4-1 in five home games. Seneca belted a three-run homer in her fifth plate appearance at the fresh venue.

Of her 88 career hits, 42 have gone for extra bases, including 29 doubles.

“Her big thing, and she's an A-plus player, is that she works extremely hard,” Plum coach Jim McGrath said. “And if she finds weakness in something, she works through it and gets it corrected.

“She'll get frazzled once in a while in high-pressure games, but she keeps going forward, not backward.”

Guidance, Seneca said, has been a key to better dealing with adversity.

“I have had a lot of help from my parents and teachers; they have helped me through stuff and personal situations,” she said.

Seneca is one of the fastest players in Plum's section, but her power allows McGrath to bat her third in the order.

A third-year starter, Seneca was the leadoff hitter for her first two varsity seasons.

“I like batting at the top because you're the first one on base,” she said. “But I also like third because you can knock people in.”

McGrath knows he can pencil Seneca into the lineup with the permanence of purple Sharpie.

“The reasons she's third is because she gets a lot of RBI,” McGrath said. “She's fast and is a very smart base-runner, but she has a good stick, too.”

Seneca has plenty of college interest from all levels. But she has narrowed her choices to three: Akron, Kent State and St. Francis (Pa.). She hopes to have her decision made early in the summer.

Seneca, who plays travel softball for the Pittsburgh Gold team, comes from an athletic family. Her father, Rudy, played baseball and basketball in high school, one of two brothers to play sports at Penn Hills.

Rudy is a WPIAL basketball official.

Paul Seneca, a third brother, played baseball at Central Catholic and Pitt.

Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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