Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jessica Moore Steps Into Justin's World

Personally, I find it rather odd how unheralded today's featured player was coming out of college, but that just makes her the perfect example of the most talented players not always getting the most press.

Without a doubt one of the best players in college ball for several years, Jessica Moore led the Oregon Ducks to a 2012 WCWS appearance, as well as an excellent 2013 campaign that ended unexpectedly early in the Super Regional round. It was a surprising, premature exit and end to an absolutely stellar career for Moore.

She was the #6 overall draft pick in the 2013 National Pro Fastpitch draft, the second selection by the NY/NJ Comets. The Comets higher-ups obviously hoped she'd be able to help shore up a pitching staff that had tons of questions revolving around it even into the season. Unfortunately for fans of the professional game, Jessica elected to try out for Team USA, and eventually was named a member of the squad.

She helped make up for the loss of Keilani Ricketts and led Team USA throughout the summer. In the midst of the international playing season, Jessica was named assistant coach at Idaho State, her first venture into the coaching ranks. After such an excellent playing career & with her obviously-extensive knowledge of the game, it would not surprise me in the least to see Moore as a top candidate for big-name positions over the next few years.

Jessica doesn't have a personal online presence, in regard to Twitter or a personal Facebook, but following her signing with OneDream ZeroDistraction Softball as her official representatives (a release we covered here), you can check out here official site here & official Facebook page here. My thanks to Jessica Moore for taking the time for this interview, and I hope you enjoy!

Why Oregon? More specifically, what about the Ducks program appealed to you and made you say “that’s where I want to go school & play ball”?
JM: When I stepped foot onto the U of O campus, I immediately knew that was where I wanted to spend my four years of college. Oregon is such a beautiful state and the community that surrounds Eugene is absolutely amazing. It is a true college town. As for the softball program, I wanted to go somewhere where I could truly be a part of something special. When I was in high school trying to make this important decision, the Ducks were not tremendous, they had their ups and downs. This is what appealed to me the most. I saw the potential in the program and wanted to be the pitcher that could completely change the program around and create a new legacy of Oregon softball. Gaining the new coaching staff that was led by Coach White was such a blessing. 

If at all possible – and it may not be – describe the Women’s College World Series experience. The atmosphere, the competition level, the adrenaline rush…
JM: The WCWS in 2012 was unbelievable, I truly don't think words can describe it. Being able to finally reach something that you have wanted for so long is a remarkable feeling and made our dream of winning a national title that much more realistic. Once you make it to the WCWS, you know you are amongst the elite programs and that every game is going to be a dog fight. Being able to be apart of one of the biggest stages in softball was an awesome experience and the atmosphere that you are surrounded by during this time is unforgettable. 

What is your favorite memory from your time as a Duck?
JM: I would have to say that my favorite memory from my time as a Duck was the Texas Super Regional. Our team had worked extremely hard in our preparation for that particular season and going through this Super Regional tournament and facing so much adversity while coming out on top was truly a defining moment our program. That weekend, as a team and as a program, we finally solidified what it truly meant to be a Duck and the way we wanted our program to be represented. 

Among the many that adorn your trophy case, is there a single award or accolade that stands out to you for one reason or another?
JM: The accolade that really stands out to me the most is when I was awarded the 2013 PAC-12 Pitcher of the Year. I had worked so hard throughout my four years as a Duck and through those four years, there were many ups and downs both mentally and physically. This was an award that I truly did not see coming until Coach White had notified me that I had actually been chosen and I was in complete awe. Again, I think it just solidified how hard our program as a whole works and the force that we are creating in the PAC-12 conference. 

What was it like to put on the red, white, and blue and represent the United States for the first time?
JM: Being able to put on the red, white, and blue really makes you have a greater respect for our country and this amazing game that we are fortunate enough to get to play. When you put on that USA jersey, you realize that you are representing not only your country and the teammates that you are currently surrounded by, but also those that have put on that jersey before you and those that are one day aspiring to be you. It is definitely something that is much greater than yourself and the present sense of the game of softball. 

Team USA vs. the NPF, after you were drafted #6 overall – was it a very tough call to decide between the two, or was going to the national team something you wanted to do from the beginning?
JM: It was an extremely difficult call. I had no predetermined answer between the two but when I had found out that I was going to get the opportunity to try out for Team USA, there was no way that I could turn down being able to represent the country that has provided me with so many incredible opportunities. 

What was your reaction to finding out that you had been drafted by the NY/NJ Comets in the 2013 NPF draft?
JM: I was very excited and honored to be chosen by the NY/NJ Comets in the 2013 draft. 

Is playing at the professional level still a possibility in the future, something in the back of your mind?
JM: Right now I am fully committed to giving everything I have towards Team USA. The experience I had during my first summer wearing the red, white, and blue was once again something that I will never forget. 

Did you always dream of being a coach once your collegiate playing career ended?
JM: Ever since I was in high school, I have dreamt of becoming a coach once my collegiate playing career had ended. It is something that I have thought long and hard about and am thrilled to be able to begin my journey in the coaching world so soon.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
JM: I believe the best advice that I have ever been given is to not take anything for granted. More specifically, don't let the time that you have and the opportunities that you come by split away from you because before you know it everything can be gone.

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