This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is junior 1st baseman Jaden Hurdle.
The Orange softball team won three games last week to remain tied with Cedar Ridge for first place in the Big 8 Conference. Hurdle went 3-for-3 with 2 RBI in a 14-1 win over Northwood in Pittsboro on April 8.
On April 10, Orange swept Chapel Hill in a doubleheader at CHHS. In the nightcap, Hurdle earned her first pitching win of the season, throwing five innings and striking out nine. She also went 2-for-2 at the plate with two RBI as the Lady Panthers improved to 8-4 overall, 8-1 in the Big 8 Conference.
The past year has been difficult for Hurdle. After leading Orange in pitching wins last season, she tore her ACL while playing basketball last June, putting her status for 2019 into question. When the season started last month, Hurdle wasn’t cleared to pitch.
“I’ve been doing a lot of strengthening of my legs,” Hurdle said. “My hamstrings especially. I’ve been focusing on little things to get me ready to play.”
This season, Hurdle is hitting .429 and leads the team with 13 RBIs. She is tied for 2nd with 12 hits. Hurdle was a starter on Orange’s 2017 3A State Championship team, where she hit .443 her freshman year. She led the team with nine doubles and had 39 hits. She was second on the team with 39 RBIs.
In her sophomore season, Hurdle went 7-7 as a pitcher with a 4.68 ERA.