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East County Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019 1 year ago

East County Athlete of the Week: Jillian Herbst

The Lakewood Ranch softball sophomore talks 'slapping' and her best piece of advice
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

Jillian Herbst is a sophomore second baseman/outfielder on the Lakewood Ranch High softball team, which is ranked third in the nation by MaxPreps. Herbst went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored March 14 in the Mustangs' 6-2 win over George Jenkins High. 

When did you start playing softball?

When I was 9. I played tennis first, but my parents (Richard and Kathy Herbst) wanted me to try a team sport and engage with others. I first played in the Miss Manatee Softball league for the Falkner Farm team. 

What is the appeal to you?

I love the competitiveness. Everyone comes together to reach for a common goal. It is an adrenaline rush to get a base hit or make a defensive play to win the game. 

What is your best skill?

It is 'slapping,' which means hitting to get on base and not for power. My goal is to get on base as much as possible. 

What is your favorite memory?

Last season as a freshman I led off our regional final game against Plant City High. We were facing a good pitcher (then-junior Ashley Blessin, a Marshall commit) and I got a double off her to start the game. That was cool. (Lakewood Ranch beat Plant City 9-2.)

What has been your biggest challenge?

Mentally overcoming errors and strikeouts. You have to come back and know it is OK. You can get the next pitch or the next ground ball. Being able to move on is important. 

What is your dream vacation?

Going to Hawaii. It is so tropical. I feel like I could get a good tan there. 

What superpower would you want?

Invisibility. It seems cool to walk around and dance when no one can see you, no matter how embarrassing it is. 

What is your favorite subject?

Math. I have always been good at it. I like having one answer for things instead of multiple options, as weird as that sounds. 

What is the best advice you have received?

My dad tells me, 'Just relax and play.' I tend to get nervous before big games. When I think of that advice, I can hear his voice in the back of my head. It gets me ready and helps me think, 'I can do this. I have worked hard.' 

Finish this sentence: "Jillian Herbst is ... "

... A student-athlete. That is what describes me the most. When I am not playing softball, I am in school, and I love that about my life. 

I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

See All Articles by Ryan

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