ANSONIA – Jailyn Thwaits became the final member of Edison’s inaugural softball recruiting class as the Ansonia senior committed to Edison State Community College on Friday.
Thwaits, the daughter of Travis and Julianne Thwaits, said committing to the Chargers fulfilled a lifelong dream.
“It’s always been my big dream actually,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to do something this big.”
Even though it was her dream, until recently Thwaits was unsure if she’d play college softball or even attend college. However, she ultimately decided college would give her more opportunities in the future.
“I didn’t know if I was going to college,” Thwaits said, “and then I thought about it, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m not working factory life like my mom did. It’s not happening.’ So I just decided to go to college and play ball, too.”
Thwaits and Edison coach Dan Cain came together through Willie Powell, who employs Thwaits at Jim’s Drive In in Greenville and Woodcrest Lanes in Union City and is an acquaintance of Cain. It turned out to be a great fit as Edison provided an opportunity to get an education while continuing to work, Thwaits said.
“Edison is a small school,” she said of picking Edison. “It’s around here, closer to home, so I can still work.”
In Thwaits, Cain said he found a player who will fit right in with the Chargers.
“I got to watch her catch yesterday,” Cain said. “Strong arm. I l liked the way she framed pitches, the way she took charge out there. I thought she picked a few kids off – they didn’t call it but threw the ball well to the bases. So I’m anxious to have her join our program. Good kid. Good grades. We’re going to have no issues with her. She’s all in. I know she’s excited about playing. The kind of kid we like to get.”
Cain watched Thwaits from his car for several minutes while he was scouting her, and she impressed him. If she hadn’t, he said, he simply would have driven off and moved forward with the players already in his recruiting class.
“She’ll fit in fine with what we’re doing and the kids I have,” Cain said. “She’ll fit in fine. And if I didn’t feel like she would then I wouldn’t worry about her. I sat and watched her quite a bit before I even got out of the car, just watch how she did things and stuff. I kind of like seeing how they interact and stuff. I got out of the car.”
Thwaits is very passionate about softball, Ansonia softball coach Floyd Jenkins said, and also is a great leader.
“Jay is real good with other kids,” Jenkins said. “She’s just an outstanding team player. She never gets down. She’s always picking everybody up, and she’s one of the most positive kids I think I’ve ever coached.”
Along with having a great personality, Thwaits also has versatility that will allow her to excel at multiple positions.
“She controls the game for us, and she’s done an outstanding job this year behind the plate,” Jenkins said. “I actually think she’s a better third baseman than she is a catcher. Maybe she’ll have an opportunity to play maybe both. She’s just a fine athlete, and she works hard at it.”
At Edison Thwaits will contend for a starting spot at catcher, third base and in the outfield, Cain said. She might end up as a utility player.
“We’ll find out,” Cain said. “And she may just move around and play all over the place.”
Thwaits doesn’t care where she plays. She just wants to earn playing time wherever she can.
“I’ll play any,” Thwaits said of her preferred position, “wherever the coach wants me to play.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.