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Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Magnetic Energy of Jordy Bahl Already Changing the Game in Nebraska

June 16, 2023

It’s safe to say that Nebraska softball has never had a player make such an impact on the program as the one Jordy Bahl has made just hours after she announced her commitment to the Huskers. Her tweet has well over one million impressions as of Friday afternoon.

Just 28 hours since announcing her commitment to the Red Team, Nebraska has significant interest in future softball ticket.

According to the athletic department, more than 2,000 people have joined the waitlist for 2024 season tickets. There were only 375 total season-ticket holders in 2023. Nebraska’s highest attended game in 2023 was against Ohio State on May 7 with 1,264 in attendance. That was also the regular season finale.

To put this into an overall perspective, Bowlin Stadium can accommodate up to 2,530 fans with 750 chairback seats and berm seating behind both dugouts and outfield. There is also bleacher seating on the first base concourse. 

The single-season attendance record of 2,302 was set on April 9, 2016 against Michigan when the promotion was to set a record for the World’s Largest Softball Tailgate.

In short, Husker softball has the potential to set a new all-time attendance record with just a commitment announcement.

Thats the kind of power Bahl has. Her energy is magnetic and she is pulling people in from across the state to attend different events before she even plays a game for the Huskers.

The Omaha Storm Chasers have already announced Jordy Bahl Day, set for June 30 at Werner Park. According to team president Martie Cordaro, tickets sales are higher than the waitlist at Nebraska.

Cordaro told Hail Varsity that the Storm Chasers were working on a way to honor one of Omaha’s own before Bahl transferred. The event had already been in the works for about a week, but it ended up better than expected.

“The fact that she transferred back to Nebraska was an opportunity that fell in our laps,” Cordaro said. 

Those who attend the game will have the opportunity for in-game autographs.

In addition to the Storm Chasers, Bahl — along with Ruby Meylan — will be a guest at the Hail Varsity Club on June 27. Space is limited and registration is required to attend the event.

I’m not surprised by any of this. I’ve had the privilege of covering Bahl’s career since she was 16. I was the executive editor at Softball America at the time and wrote about her decision to de-commit from Nebraska. 

“I committed super young, when I was 14 and I just came to the realization that I go off to college soon and I only got to visit one school,” Bahl said after her de-commitment from Nebraska. “[So] I just wanted to open it up, see what opportunities come, go visit more schools and just make sure that where I end up is going to be the best fit and feel like home for the next four years.”

At that time, we were in Colorado at the Triple Crown Colorado Fireworks tournament. I had never seen someone bring in a crowd of college coaches the way Bahl did. From Oklahoma’s Patty Gasso, who ultimately got her, to Texas’ Mike White, who was sitting front row for every game.

I stood with Tennessee’s Chris Malveaux (who was at Missouri at the time) and Abilene Christian’s Caty Reeves (who was at Ole Miss). As we watched Bahl in action, there was something different about her even then. The way she stood in the on-deck circle and the pop of the mitt were already impressive . . . and then she hit a nuke. We had to pick our jaws off the ground. I had never seen a teenager of her build hit a ball that far. Once she made contact, both coaches turned me to me.

“We don’t have a chance,” they said.

Bahl committed to Oklahoma shortly after that tournament and became a household name in college softball. She was named an All-American, Freshman of the Year and went on to win two national title with the Sooners. Yet, the impact at home was far greater than anyone could have anticipated.

I put together a softball camp in July 2022 at the Strike Zone. Bahl was one of the student-athletes who worked the camp. It sold out in 48 hours. We sold out two sessions of 40 campers each, and the number of campers wearing Oklahoma softball shirts that week was insane.

I learned then, as a fairly new resident of Omaha, that the community supports its own no matter where they go. I also learned that Bahl is one of the most humble, down-to-earth superstars the sporting world has ever seen.

She will sign autographs and take pictures for every kid if she has the time and now, after accomplishing the pinnacle of success at Oklahoma, she is coming home. 

Nebraska softball hasn’t competed in a national championship game since 1985 and hasn’t been to Oklahoma City since 2013. There hasn’t been a First-Team All-American since MJ Knighten in 2016 and the Huskers’ last conference pitcher of the year was Tatum Edwards in 2013. The Huskers have never had a national Freshman of the Year or Women’s College World Series Most Outstanding Player.

Bahl is all of those things. I expect a lot of changes in Lincoln even if it just starts with ticket sales.

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