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Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Jordy Bahl Embracing New Underdog Mentality at Nebraska

June 24, 2023

Jordy Bahl is a bonafide superstar in the sport of women’s softball. Within her first week of being a Husker, she has already become the face of the program. Although, if you ask her, she would prefer to stay out of the spotlight.

When Bahl made her announcement to play for Nebraska, she said was excited to not just be Jordy Bahl the softball player. For Bahl, there is more to life than the yellow ball.

“There were times down in Norman where after practice, the weekend rolls around and I didn’t really know what to do because my family, my main loves, are seven hours away,” Bahl told Jessica Coody on Sports Nightly. “I kind of struggled with that a lot. I would question myself at times and I never wanted my identity to be solely found in softball and that’s what it feels like sometimes.

“Coming home, I’m not going to have that problem. I’m not going to feel that because I will be able to see my family, support my brothers and enjoy hobbies as well.”

On social media, “The Bahl Effect” has completely taken over the conversation surrounding Husker softball. Ticket sales have skyrocketed and forced the athletic department to take a look at expanding Bowlin Stadium.

Bowlin currently seats around 2,500. As of Tuesday evening, the waitlist had eclipsed capacity and is still climbing. As of Friday morning, Nebraska announced the demand surpassed 3,000.

Head coach Rhonda Revelle addressed the demand in a press conference on Tuesday at Memorial Stadium. She shared that athletic director Trev Alberts and senior women’s administrator Keith Zimmer had met with her on Monday with ideas on how to accommodate the demand.

“We are exploring additional bleacher seating on the third base side as well as additional seating options beyond the outfield wall,” Zimmer confirmed in an email exchange with Hail Varsity.

When Bahl was asked about the impact she has made in Lincoln so far, she was quick to deflect it back to the team.

“I don’t look at it that way at all,” she said on Tuesday about being the face of the program. “Also, when you don’t look at it that way, you don’t feel that.”

Since arriving back in Nebraska, Bahl has hit the ground running with appearances. That includes the Papillion-La Vista youth softball camp, the Nebraska Gold Recruiting Camp and the Men’s College World Series. She is also scheduled to appear at the Hail Varsity Club on June 27 and an Omaha Storm Chasers game on June 30.

“One moment that I thought was really cool was that I went to the Papio softball camp because that’s where I played high school and it was shortly after the announcement had been made and little girls were coming up to me saying, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to get to watch you play,'” Bahl said. “I think that is just super cool because it is right in their backyard and I was that little girl at one point. That was a moment when it started to sink in like, ‘Wow, this is really awesome.'”

Papillion-La Vista head coach Todd Petersen told Hail Varsity the scene at camp looked like a blast from the past.

“It’s like Elvis or the Beatles in a smaller version,” he said via text message. “She’s just a role model for every softball girl in the community.”

Bahl is following a long line of Monarchs who have left their mark on Husker softball. In Bahl’s interview on Sports Nightly, she was asked about her favorite players growing up. The first name out of her mouth was Gina Metzler Sabatka.

“It’s so special that she used to watch me and my teammates,” Sabatka said in a text message to Hail Varsity. “Now she gets to wear the ‘N’ and inspire the next generation which is what it’s all about.”

Sabatka was a four-time first-team All-Nebraska selection at Papillion-La Vista and was recognized for several academic achievement honors during her career in Lincoln (2015-18). She has been a fan of Bahl since her freshman season with the Monarchs and knew there was something different about the new Husker.

“I cheer for Papio every fall and enjoyed watching her when she was in high school,” Sabatka said. “Her talent has always spoken for itself but I think her confidence and competitive edge really set her apart. She’s just a winner and it’s so exciting to have a player like that joining the winning culture they have going in Lincoln. When I heard she was coming back, I was really proud of her for staying true to herself and what matters most to her. I’m sure it was a tough decision but the impact she’s already having on the program and the sport in general in Nebraska is something really special.

“The Huskers have been so fun to watch these past few years and already have momentum and a talented group so it will be fun to see her in the mix.”

Bahl, like Sabatka, played summer ball for Nebraska Gold. Current teammates Billie and Brooke Andrews also wore the black and gold, which brings this commitment to Nebraska full-circle for Bahl. 

“It was always super cool wearing Nebraska across my chest during the summer,” said Bahl about wanting to help highlight softball in her home state. “Going out to play in tournaments in California and play teams from big softball states like that and no one’s really expecting anything from the team from Nebraska.  It’s like you’re a true underdog.”

Embracing the underdog mentality at Nebraska is a different mindset compared to being a national championship favorite but if anyone can inspire a team to rally and keep its eye on Oklahoma City, it is going to be the pitcher in the circle who has two championships on her resumé.

“The goal is to leave everything out there (the field) and see what happens,” Bahl said. “I’m a firm believer that the end is already written and with that you just show up everyday give everything you have and it’s in the Lord’s hands.

“It would be so cool to see Nebraska in the College World Series and make the run that I believe this team can make.”

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