The Oregon Tech softball team recently landed a La Grande athlete who has Division I potential.
The Owls have inked all-state catcher and former 4A state player of the year Jayce Seavert, a vital cog for the Tigers’ back-to-back state championship run, signing the senior earlier this summer and officially announcing it in November.
“Right out of the gate Jayce will be able to contribute to the program as a leader and as a defensive and offensive player,” LHS head coach Woody Wright said. “She’ll be able to contribute as a freshman.”
Seavert said OIT coach Greg Stewart first reached out to Seavert following the 2018 state championship game when La Grande defeated Henley. Stewart, Seavert said, had been at the game to watch a couple players for the Hornets.
He ended up finding his future catcher on the other side of the diamond.
“He was there to watch some girls from Henley and ended up seeing me. He reached out, we connected, we went and toured, and (OIT) is perfect for the medical field,” said Seavert, who intends to study medical imaging and radiology.
The senior looked at a wide range of schools, even talking to D-I programs, including the University of Oregon.
But education, an opportunity to see the field a lot sooner and the outreach by Stewart drew Seavert to Oregon Tech.
“He reached out more than anybody else, so I took to that more,” she said.
She also “didn’t want to go D-I,” and said Stewart not only guaranteed her a spot on the roster but told her she should see the field as a freshman.
“Right now, what he sees, I’ll be second string because when I come in there will be a senior catcher,” Seavert said. “I’ll probably be splitting games my freshman year, and come my sophomore year, I'll be the starting catcher.”
OIT is landing an athlete in Seavert who began to help turn the LHS program into a powerhouse the minute she joined as a freshman.
In her most recent season on the field, she had a .575 batting average, 12 home runs, 61 RBIs and 37 runs scored.
Seavert said her play behind the plate, though, is her strength, and said catching was the position that fit her the best when she began playing softball.
“I’ve played it all my life," she said. “I just was good at it. That was the easiest thing when I was little, and as I got older, Lin (Casciato) worked with me a lot.”
Wright, interestingly, sees it the opposite way of Seavert, and thinks the catching game is where she’ll need to grow at the next level.
“Her bat is there. I think she needs to believe in it a little bit more,” he said. “I think the development of running the game defensively behind the plate is where she’ll need to step it up a little bit (at OIT).”
Casciato, a regional ASA softball coach and pitching coach, spoke highly of Seavert’s play.
“As a catcher she is quick, athletic, and she's a natural,” he said. “I’m impressed with her ability.”
Casciato said he’s worked in conjunction with Seavert and LHS pitcher Allie Brock over the years, and that the duo is dynamic.
“Those girls have worked together and developed together. It’s a phenomenal twosome. I don't think there is a better battery in the whole state,” he said.