Pinelands Regional’s Jessie Rising Signs With Manhattan to Play Softball

Nov 22, 2017
Photo by: David Biggy With mother, Tracey (left), brother, Michael and father, Paul, right by her side, Pinelands Regional senior Jessie Rising signs her National Letter of Intent on Nov. 15 to play softball at Manhattan College.

As Jessie Rising signed the dotted line on her National Letter of Intent, it was hard to tell who was happiest among the Rising family.

“When I’m on the field, I have four generations watching me,” said Rising, who inked the agreement to play softball at Manhattan College amid dozens of family, coaches and friends on Nov. 15. “Everybody in my family has sacrificed so much to get me where I am right now. My family has always been there for me whenever I needed them, and they’ve always been there to pick me up when I got down. They live for this, and I’m really blessed.”

No doubt her mother, Tracey, and older brother, Michael, have done a lot to help Jessie in any possible way, but it’s her father, Paul, who may have physically suffered the most during the past eight years.

“My dad has permanently bruised shins from all the times he sat on the bucket and I pitched to him,” said the senior left-hander. “There were days I didn’t want to get out there, and he’d say, ‘You want to get to the top? You have to work hard.’ And he worked almost as hard as I did to get me there. He’s been awesome. But I don’t know what’s going to happen to him when I leave for college. He was crying at the volleyball banquet a few weeks ago, and we still have two more sports banquets this year.”

For sure, the journey toward Division I softball hasn’t always been an easy one for Rising, but she liked it that way. The soon-to-be Jasper is not only a fiery competitor, but also an extremely hard worker who doesn’t believe in taking shortcuts to improve herself. For her senior year, she opted to take an entire schedule of Advanced Placement classes, save physical education, while playing three sports – volleyball and basketball in addition to softball – and teaching younger girls during pitching classes.

“I wanted to prepare myself for what’s coming in college,” said Rising, who spent most of her summer traveling and playing for the Jersey Flames Gold 18-and-under squad. “I’ve pushed myself as hard as I could throughout high school, so that I’m ready for when I get to college. I know that if I can handle it all now, I’ll be able to handle it at Manhattan.”

And that’s one reason she chose the college in New York City – head coach Tom Pardalis and the rest of the coaching staff didn’t try to dissuade Jessie from taking on a full academic plate as a pre-med major while playing through potentially 60-game seasons and all that comes with doing so. After all, Rising loves challenges and very often seeks them out on her own.

“Nothing really good happens when you’re inside your comfort zone,” said Rising, currently ranked third in her class and still striving for the No. 1 spot. “I know I’m facing big challenges in college, but I’m going to work through them. No matter what comes my way, I’ll find a way to work through it. I want to go into the medical field, but, at the same time, I have four more years of softball, and I’m going to take every opportunity I can to play the game I love.”

Last season, the Jaspers went 34-21, including a 13-7 mark in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. And while Rising certainly will attempt to become the No. 1 starter in the circle at some point in her college career, she’s not going develop a list of too many elevated expectations – yet.

“I can’t sit here and say I’m going to go to Manhattan and we’re going to win MAAC championship right away,” she said. “But what I can say is that I’m going there to try to make a difference. I’m going to give every ounce of myself, everything I have, for them. They’re giving me an amazing opportunity, and I’m going there to prove that I was worth their risk and investment.

“God has gifted me with talents, and I live every day with the intent to give everything I have to everything I do. There’s a purpose for me being here and doing what I’m doing, and if I’m not giving it my all, then I shouldn’t be doing it. This is legit stuff. It’s Division I softball, and Manhattan gave me the gift to play at that level, and I’m going to do everything I can to be my best and help in whatever way I can.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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