By: Greg Levinsky
Oddly enough, Jilee Schanda’s bat heats up when the weather gets cold. The Fresno, California native thrives in the brisk northeast weather when the Terriers return from their yearly trips to California and Florida.
The two-time Patriot League All-Conference First Teamer is once again in the midst of a torrid stretch at the plate. Schanda is riding a 11-game hitting streak, batting .472 (17-for-36) with one home run, a triple, three doubles and 10 RBIs.
Batting .309 on the season, Schanda has raised her average 50 points during her hitting streak. It likely has not plateaued yet.
Take last year, for example.
Schanda batted a blistering .444 from March 12 to May 12 last year, raising her batting average from .250 to .358 in the process. Her late surge earned her 2017 Patriot League Player of the Year honors after finishing with a .343 average to go along with 33 runs scored, 25 RBIs and 15 extra-base hits – including four home runs.
Struggling out of the gates as a sophomore, Schanda turned a .171 average after 14 games into a .303 clip by year’s end. In a sport where funks are the norm, Schanda snaps out of them in emphatic fashion.
“This is Jilee’s time. Right now,” said BU Softball coach Ashley Waters. “If you look at your watches, you look at the date, this is when she turns it on.”
The senior center fielder has improved steadily in each of her four Boston University campaigns. She compiled a .260 average as the everyday starter as a freshman, batted .303 as a sophomore and .343 last year. Not only have her numbers improved, but coach Waters said she sets a precedent everyday with her tenacity.
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“Jilee doesn’t take a rep off,” Waters said. “She’s probably one of the best outfielders I’ve seen play the game, and I think that outfield play and who she is in centerfield transitions into that offensive piece.”
It’s not just Schanda that improves when the Terriers (27-17, 7-2 Patriot League) return home to Boston. The team has won 19 of its last 24 games, including a nine-game winning streak. Not only has Schanda’s hitting been prevalent, it’s proved to be timely.
“When there’s pressure, she wants to be in the position to drive in runs and make things happen,” Waters said.