Benjamin E. Mays High School’s Addison Jennings is no stranger to the pitching circle. In fact, it is where she is most comfortable.
As an amazingly talented student and athlete, Addison has been a life-long student of the game of softball. Although she has been playing softball since the tender age of 5, her love and knowledge of the game goes back further. Addison’s father, Michael Jennings, has had an extensive career in coaching baseball and softball. Michael has been coaching baseball for 17 years and softball for 13. Currently, he is on the baseball and softball coaching staff at Mays. Because of her father’s coaching career, Addison’s intelligence of the game is sharply advanced.
Addison’s softball journey began when her father placed her in a recreational league in Douglasville, GA at Hunter Memorial Park. At the age of 5, she was the youngest on her team. From there she advanced to the ‘Dynamic Divas’ softball team, again playing above her age group. The team was for age 8Y, and Addison was 6!
Her skills in the game have blossomed as she has grown as a player, and she has played travel softball with numerous teams since age 8. Softball tournaments have taken her many places, including Gulf Shores, Gatlinburg, Panama City Beach, Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Chattanooga, as well as, many other circuits, showcases and softball venues in the state of Georgia.
Addison has a very diverse background in playing style, with experience in playing outfield and first-base, but her stand out skill is in pitching. “I’m a self taught pitcher. I just wanted to pitch one day, and I was able to see how much I liked it. From there, I started to see how to pitch or what kind of pitches I could do. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and I practiced a lot, outside in the backyard pitching to my dad,” shared Addison, as she spoke to how she found her niche in pitching.
She is no stranger to the big stage, Addison led Bunche Middle School to the APS Middle School Softball Championship as a 6th grader and the playoffs as a 7th grader. Her 8th grade season was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Currently, Addison is the pitcher at Mays High School, where she is thriving academically and athletically. As a freshman pitcher she started 13 games, pitching a total of 54 innings, and compiled a record of 7-5 while leading the Mays Lady Raiders to the AAAA State Softball Playoffs. With her fastball topping off at 60 MPH, Addison finished the season with 77 strikeouts (most in Mays history) as a freshman. Head Coach Melvin Tucker stated, “We felt like we could compete with any team with Addison in the pitcher’s circle. Her pitching was impeccable and propelled the Mays softball program to the next level.” At the end of the season, she was dubbed “Queen of The Circle!”
When asked how it felt to lead her team to the State Softball Playoffs, Addison responded, “It was very intimidating at first, but then I got used to it. I am the type of pitcher that can be placed in high pressure situations, and I am a reliever. Travel softball prepared me for that.”
Addison had a great freshman campaign, hitting .326 on the season. She will now turn her focus to fall and spring travel softball, where she will continue to improve her skills. As a freshman, her softball goals were to improve, impress, and make an impact on her team. Needless to say, she exceeded her goals for her freshman season.
“While I’m at Mays, I want to win a State title here because it has never been done. During my years here, I’m sure I can make that happen. I made second team All-Region, and I am hoping to make first team.” Hopefully, she will make the 6-AAAA All-Region team. With three years left at Mays, Addison wants to earn an academic or softball scholarship and play Division-1 softball.
“My parents always say that grades are first, so, if I don’t have the grades then I cant play softball. So my inspiration is to maintain good grades, so that I could continue to play softball,” Addison shared when asked how she balances being a great student and a great athlete. And she balances it well, as she also shared that she holds a 3.8 GPA.
Addison already has big plans for the future.
“I want to pitch in the ‘Women’s College World Series,’ but I’m also interested in sports medicine. And I would go anywhere, it just depends on who offers the best scholarship.”
She also added, “my long term goals are to show that black girls can do anything that anyone else can, including pitching softball.”
Softball has taken her many places, and Addison recently went to a HBCU softball showcase at Miles College in Birmingham, AL. At the showcase, she hit a homerun and had a few strike-outs. What was most impressive about the showcase was that the opponents Addison played against were in junior college. Her performance caught the attention of some colleges coaches from Tuskegee University, Miles College, and some Junior Colleges.
Michael Jennings, shared his joy on his daughters accomplishments in academics and softball. “Addison is a product of APS, starting at Beecher Hills and then to Bunche. Some of the coaches here at Mays were expecting her to go somewhere else for high school, but she is here. Mays is my alma mater, so that makes it a little bit more remarkable.”
He continued, “She has always been a student of the game, and she truly loves softball. I think she is a great college prospect. She is very coachable, and I think she is going places with softball. I tell her all the time that she is not just a student athlete, but that she is a student and an athlete and she takes heed to that. As a coach, my goal is to continue to produce great citizens and not just student-athletes, and Addison is a great example of that.”