Jessie Blaine has made a huge impact on teams across the nation.
"My dad is an infantry officer in the Marine Corps," said Blaine, a junior who is on her third school at San Clemente High, CA. "Because of this, I have moved 11 times and lived in every part of the country. This has given me an opportunity to play softball on both coasts, in the Midwest and the South, go to schools with 200 students and to those with 3,000, see the entire country and make friends from all over.”
“Although a military lifestyle can be difficult,” she continued, “I've grown incredibly close to my family, specifically my sisters, Emma and Audrey, who are my best friends. Moving around has made me adaptable, given me a mature perspective on life and shown me how culture in America can vary exceptionally."
Blaine, one of the top catchers in the Class of 2021 and an Extra Elite 100 honoree, is a decorated softball and basketball player. She has made an immediate impact since arriving at San Clemente where she has helped the Tritons' girls basketball team win the South Coast League title and reach the CIF-Southern Section Division 2A quarterfinals. Blaine, a 5-foot-10 F/C, and teammate Melinda Cratty will join San Clemente's softball team once the basketball season ends.
"I've personally been around many softball players in my 14 years of playing and have never seen anyone hit the ball as hard as Jessie can," Cratty said. "She is the strongest girl I have ever met and has an amazing work ethic. Hearing stories about her before she came to San Clemente, I had no idea how much of a beast she would be, but she is excellent on the court and the field. No girl can match her strength in basketball and it's almost impossible to stop her. Her skill level is so far from most people in both sports.
"You would think someone like that would be cocky and mean, but no ... Jessie is the most selfless and kindest people I have ever met. She cares about her other teammates and will be the first person to help you up. It's a blessing to play with her and see her through her journey. Her athleticism, selflessness and work ethic make her very unique and like no other player. She really is the true package."
Even though Blaine, who plays club for Firecrackers-TJ 18U, has jumped around a lot she has never failed to make an impact on her teammates. Blaine teamed up with Michigan-committed RHP Emerson Aiken during her stint with Tennessee Mojo 2021-Cherry.
"Jessie is one of the most devoted and encouraging players I've ever had the privilege of playing with," Aiken said. "She's one of the best power hitters I know and is always dependable in any situation at the plate. She's also probably one of the strongest players I've ever played with, physically and in her knowledge of the game. She craves to know all the details of how things work, so she can be the best for herself and her teammates.”
“Her technical skills are amazing behind the plate,” Aiken explains. “Her framing and attention to detail helps her get a lot of strikes. Jessie is truly devoted to getting to know each pitcher and how they tick; this is what makes her unique. Jessie invests in this aspect of catching because she understands that her job changes a little bit with each individual pitcher. Only a few catchers I know have this mindset. We had an amazing and open relationship, helping each other from the first day we met.
"I think what stands out most about her is how amazing of a teammate she is. She's always lifting others up and doing what she can for the team. Jessie is the ideal teammate, and I'm not just saying that. She's truly a special player and I can't wait to see her again on the field soon."
Nebraska-bound RHP Caitlynn Neal got to play with Blaine, an Auburn commit, on Team USA's U-17 team, which won the 2019 Pan American championship this past fall in Barranquilla, Colombia.
"I had the privilege of having Jessie as my catcher throughout the games in Colombia," Neal said. "She is one of the best catchers I have ever worked with. In the short amount of time we had before our first game, she was able to figure out my strengths and weaknesses. We quickly formed a great bond. Jessie is a true competitor”
“She excelled not only catching but made a big impact in our lineup as well,” Neal says. “Jessie is a natural leader who always finds a way to bring out the best in people. I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to play with such an amazing athlete. Jessie is an all-around great person, teammate, and every pitcher's dream."
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