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Living out her dream

Former area standout Jarvis now excelling at Illinois

Submitted photo / Illinois Athletics Former area softball standout Addy Jarvis throws for the University of Illinois. Jarvis is living out her dream of playing for a Power 5 school.

Addy Jarvis has moved around quite a bit in her career.

The former Hubbard High School softball star transferred to Mathews as a senior. The hard-throwing right-hander was dominant at both schools and eventually signed with Youngstown State University.

Again, Jarvis was lights out — earning a 2.58 ERA with 218 strikeouts in 170 2/3 innings as a true freshman.

The success sparked a dream for Jarvis, who has always wanted to play for a Power 5 college softball team. Her impressive freshman year caught the attention of several schools of that caliber. Still, part of Jarvis wanted to remain loyal to her hometown Penguins.

“It was really tough,” she said. “I’m from here, and my dad played football (at YSU) as well, so it was really tough for me to leave because I do love it here.”

Submitted photo / Illinois Athletics Former area softball standout Addy Jarvis throws for the University of Illinois. Jarvis is living out her dream of playing for a Power 5 school.

Reaching her dream was too enticing.

Jarvis entered the transfer portal, and the very next day she got an email from University of Illinois softball coach Tyra Perry. Before she knew it, Jarvis was leaving the only place she had ever called home and heading to Champaign, Illinois, to join the Illini.

“When you have a pitcher with Addy’s profile become available — she’s in our region and looking at the schedule she played, the teams she pitched against — we knew it would be a great get if she was interested in us,” Perry said. “So … she was a no-brainer.”

Once again, the transition to another school was seamless.

Jarvis stepped in and earned a 2.42 ERA and led the Illini in wins with six as a sophomore in 2020. She struck out 53 and walked just 19 in 60 2/3 innings. In her first career start, she allowed one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings as Illinois beat No. 21 Ole Miss.

Jarvis transferred in the middle of the school year but still caught on quickly. Well, she caught on quickly to schoolwork and softball.

“The biggest jump from YSU to Illinois is the size of the campus,” she said with a laugh. “You can get lost anywhere. I learned that very quickly. I’d be trying to find the bookstore and stuff, I’d turn down the wrong road, and I’d be a mile away and had no idea.”

The softball part came fairly easy to Jarvis.

She played travel ball for years growing up, so she faced countless players who went on to play at major Division I colleges. She said the time dedicated to practice and training was very similar to YSU. The biggest difference in the opposition was the depth of the lineups. She said pretty much every girl in the order was good, so she had to be on her game from start to finish.

It never fazed her, which even impressed her coach, who has been a head coach at the Division I level for 18 years.

“It was immediate,” said Perry of Jarvis’ acclimation to the team and the Big Ten. “We love her. It feels like she’s been here the whole time. It’s difficult to transfer, but it’s extremely difficult to transfer midyear. That’s a whole other ball of wax, but Addy did it with style and grace. She’s wonderful. Her family is wonderful. She just hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back.

“With any kid you bring in, there’s always going go be the pause or question mark that has to be answered, but Addy just checked all the boxes,” she added. “She’s extremely intelligent, great student and very intentional in the classroom, which usually translates to the field. She’s just a really prototypical Big Ten athlete in that she’s high-achiever on both sides. She cares about her grades and is focused there and wants to win championships at the same time.”

Jarvis is enjoying the ride, even with the COVID-19 pandemic cutting the season short.

She’s not getting complacent either. She and Perry discussed what areas Jarvis needs to improve upon going into next year. Perry is happy with the array of pitches Jarvis throws. Perry said a big reason for Jarvis’ success is her ability to change speeds and locate each of her pitches against any hitter.

Now she wants Jarvis to build the stamina to continue her success even longer in games.

“Having to face top-tier competition day in and day out, and facing lineups where their one through nine could kill, there are great batters all the way through — there are no breaks,” Perry said. “As she’s kind of grown and continues to pitch at this level, gaining the stamina, mentally and physically, that she needs to battle these top lineups and top hitters game after game. That’s something that’s going to happen naturally.”

Jarvis agrees, and she’s on board with any improvements necessary.

Her attention to detail is what has allowed her to continue to ascend year after year, and she doesn’t intend on slowing down as a junior.

“Talking to my coaches, I’ve always been kind of a perfectionist,” she said. “That’s the thing, is just refining everything that I already have, maybe spicing it up and adding a little bit here and there. I’m really not going to change much. I’m just going to really refine it and hopefully come back even stronger. I’ve spent a lot of time on very, very fine details, so hopefully that helps.”

It has taken her this far.

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