Power surge: Record-setting season year helps Lindstrom nab top player honorsShe led the Spartans in almost all offensive categories, finishing with 41 hits, 31 RBIs and 34 runs scored. Lindstrom counted seven home runs and seven doubles among her hits and held a .642 on-base percentage.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
At the start of the softball season, Superior High School coach Amy Zembo had all of her players write down a goal for the season. The girls then taped the goals to their shoes to serve as reminders — and motivation — during their games.
Jessica Lindstrom, who plays third base for the Spartans, decided to focus on her hitting. The junior belted seven home runs to finish the season with a 1.043 slugging percentage and a .586 batting average, but she still finished well short of her goal.
“My goal was to bat 1.000,” said Lindstrom, sheepishly. “I just set really high goals. I know that’s nearly impossible, but I know you need to have really high goals to work that hard to get there.”
In sports, Lindstrom admitted, she may be a bit of a perfectionist.
During the fall, she dominates the front row in volleyball. She has 474 kills and 178 blocks in two years. Next year, she said, those totals need to be much higher.
In the winter months, Lindstrom transitions to the basketball court. She’s averaged a double-double in all three years of varsity play, and this season she assumed the top place on Superior’s all-time scoring list. Next year, she’ll only be content if the Spartans win a state championship.
“Jessica excels at every sport she plays, and it comes from not only her natural athletic ability but her amazing work ethic,” Zembo said. “She wants to be challenged every day in practice because failure is not an option in her book.”
The junior’s commitment to improving is almost fanatical, Zembo said. When the Spartan girls basketball team was preparing for its trip to the state tournament in March, Lindstrom wanted to make sure she could still come to open gym for softball.
“She texted that she was running late because her car broke down, and I had to tell her she needed to just stay home to rest and not risk injury before the tourney,” Zembo said.
The basketball season lasted almost until the start of softball, but late spring storms kept fields covered with snow into May. That meant more batting practice indoors for Lindstrom and her teammates.
“As a team, we got a lot more swinging practice,” Lindstrom said. “Everyone was just ready for the season. I hit decent this season, but other girls hit really well too.”
Snow cut the 2013 softball season nearly in half, but Lindstrom made the most of the shortened schedule.
She led the Spartans in almost all offensive categories, finishing with 41 hits, 31 RBIs and 34 runs scored. Lindstrom counted seven home runs and seven doubles among her hits and held a .642 on-base percentage.
“I must have gotten stronger over the summer,” Lindstrom said. “Otherwise I’m not sure. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything different. My fundamentals were obviously sharper because I was hitting the ball at exactly the right point . . . but it’s nothing I thought about. It just kind of came naturally.”
Lindstrom’s power surge this season is notable. As a sophomore, she had one home run, 24 hits and a .550 slugging percentage. This year she nearly doubled her slugging percentage and improved upon her home run total by six.
“I have that mindset that if I’m not too good at something, a little weak at something, I need to get better,” Lindstrom said. “It’s just in my head. I don’t care if I’m going in that sport to college or not, I just want to be better.”
Lindstrom was named to the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association All-District first team for the Northwest Division. She also earned first team honors in the Lake Superior Conference.
“Her stats speak for themselves,” Zembo said. “She is a team leader on and off the field, as well as in the classroom.
“She is also a very good role model for the young kids. I know she was involved with the youth basketball camp. She always took time after practice to play with my own kids, giving them piggy back rides.”
Lindstrom said she intends to use this summer to improve her hitting for the 2014 season — the lofty goal of batting 1.000 is still on her mind — but she’ll have to juggle her offseason work for multiple sports.
On Wednesday Lindstrom announced she’d given a verbal commitment to play basketball for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a Division I school.
Basketball will be a priority for Lindstrom, but she said she has no intention of giving up softball. She’s played softball since she was nine years old.
“I’ve played softball for how many years? There’s no way I can just stop,” Lindstrom said. “I enjoy doing this, so why quit something you like?”