After a strong senior season in which she dominated opposing pitching to wrap up an impressive high school career, Daviess County’s Jessie Daniels has been named the 2023 Owensboro Times Softball Player of the Year.
Receiving this award is an honor,” Daniels said. “I know girls who have won this in the past and they have always been great athletes so it feels great to be recognized along with them.”
Daniels continued her strong career at the plate this season, hitting a whopping 18 home runs—helping her claim the Daviess County home run record in the process—while posting a .492 batting average and tallying 66 RBIs. She was also a vocal leader on the team, serving as an instrumental part of the culture that the Lady Panthers have built.
Daniels cherished the opportunity to lead the way like others had before her, saying that she hopes her impact within the Daviess County program reflects the impact the program had on her.
“This program deserves nothing but the best after everything it has done for me and my teammates,” Daniels said. “The impact that I have on my younger teammates and younger girls who look up to me means the most out of everything. Setting an example and being a leader was my main priority throughout the season.”
Jessie’s efforts on and off the field helped Daviess County finish 31-5 this year, while securing the team’s fourth straight district and regional championships. She said that she put a lot of work in during the off-season, and it paid off with what she believes was the best year of her high school career.
And while the Lady Panthers fell short of their state championship hopes, the first baseman is proud of everything her and her teammates accomplished.
“My ultimate goal was to lead this team to a state title,” Daniels said. Although we fell short of that I’m still happy with what we accomplished. We grew together as a team and fought our hardest. I would [also] be lying if I didn’t mention that breaking both of the home run records wasn’t in my goals this season. Breaking those records was a huge accomplishment and something I’ll never forget.”
Daniels said that she’s thankful for the many lessons she’s learned during her softball career, something that has taught her how to succeed on and off the field
“Throughout the past 12 years of my life, I have been coached by so many amazing coaches who have shaped me into the person I am today,” Daniels said. “Softball is a sport of failure and you must learn how to deal with failure and adversity to become a great athlete. I think that is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Daniels now looks ahead to starting her collegiate career, as she is set to join Campbellsville University in the fall. And while she is looking forward to competing at the next level, her senior year was a bittersweet one thanks to the many friends and coaches she’s had countless time on the diamond with.
“I’ve played with Raylee Roby for as long as I can remember and to think we won’t ever see the field together again is upsetting,” Daniels said. “But I will forever cherish the time spent with her and everyone else on the team. I will most definitely miss coach Biggs the most. Coach Biggs has turned me into a great athlete and a great person. I owe a lot to him and I will forever miss being coached by him.”
The senior slugger said she will miss the bonds created between her teammates, coaches, and herself the most. The culture that the Lady Panthers have is something that she believes everyone should experience in their lives.
She’ll always cherish the memories she’s made with the red and white, as Jessie has so many that she will look back on as some of her favorite moments in her softball career.
“My favorite memory at Daviess county was the state championship in 2021,” Daniels said. “The crowd, the atmosphere, the competition. My favorite thing about softball is the energy on the field, And that’s when it was at the highest. The state championship is a game and day that I will never forget.”