Jordy Bahl herself wasn’t sure what to say about what some have deemed the “Jordy Bahl effect.”
Since the star softball pitcher transferred to Nebraska from 2023 national champion Oklahoma, her influence on her new program and home state has been evident. Season ticket requests have skyrocketed, and the Omaha Storm Chasers are promoting Jordy Bahl Day later this month.
Bahl and Nebraska head coach Rhonda Revelle spoke to media on Tuesday. Asked about her influence, she brushed off the question somewhat, opting to talk about her excitement to play with the team and see a supportive crowd. Her new head coach was much more willing to give her credit.
“I think the Jordy Bahl effect is real,” Revelle said. “I know she’s so humble and full of humility that she probably doesn’t even like me saying that, she’d probably kick me. But I think it is really real. And I think that’s exciting because that’s what she wants to do. She wants to help grow the game and she’s going to help grow the game.”
Bahl was committed to Nebraska in high school, where she was a two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Nebraska and once the national player of the year. She decommitted before her junior year at Papillion-La Vista, however, then choosing Oklahoma. She thrived in two years with the Sooners, helping them win the national championship in both 2022 and 2023. She was named the Most Outstanding Player in this past season’s Women’s College World Series, throwing 24.2 scoreless innings.
She could’ve remained with a powerhouse Oklahoma program and practically guaranteed contention for more titles. But the feelings of homesickness were too much to ignore, according to Bahl. She felt it her freshman year — the same year she got a tattoo of her home state’s outline — but dismissed it as a feeling every college freshman away from home goes through.
“Then my second year, instead of those feelings going away they continued to worsen,” she said. “And so that’s I guess when I started just knowing that my heart was always at home.”
For Revelle, the call from Bahl popped up on her car dashboard, ensuing in a conversation that wasn’t fully about softball. Bahl did express her interest, of course, and wanted to know if she’d be welcomed back. That was a no-brainer on the head coach’s end.
“When she moved in a different direction there was never one hard feeling from any of our staff,” Revelle said. “And we have always been Jordy Bahl fans. As a person first, as an athlete second, and that never wavered.”
Now that Bahl is back in Nebraska, she’ll be a massive addition to a team coming off back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances. Her 2023 earned run average of .90 ranked second in the country. Husker starting pitchers Sarah Harness and Courtney Wallace had marks of 3.40 and 3.50 respectively this past season, and Wallace has graduated.
Along with that, Bahl is set to do something she didn’t do often at Oklahoma — hit. In 32 plate appearances last year with the Sooners, she had a batting average of .406, recording 13 total hits. Revelle believes in her potential at the plate. She referenced that she hit 20 home runs as a senior in high school, and was nearly as feared batting as she was pitching.
“She just has that extra competitive fire and she has that will to win and it doesn’t matter if she’s on the mound with a facemask on or if she’s in the box with a helmet on,” Revelle said. “She’s gonna be a force to be reckoned with.”
Bahl said she doesn’t want to “overstep” as she enters the program, rather just wanting to do whatever she can to help the team succeed. She also wants to help softball grow in the state as a whole, a desire she expressed in her statement announcing her intention to transfer. She looks to accomplish that partly through on-field success, ideally making the Huskers a dream destination for younger players.
“Even when I went down to OU it was hard because I never wanted to leave home,” Bahl said. “This place and these people mean so much to me. And so it would just be so cool to just capitalize on what this team can do and have little girls dream of playing for this program.”