All-time home runs leader Watson leads Syracuse into doubleheader versus Binghamton
Jasmine Watson has been a power hitter ever since she arrived on campus four years ago.
Last Wednesday, the senior broke Syracuse’s all-time home run record in style, after annihilating a two-out pitch from Maryland’s Kaitlyn Schmeiser over the left-center field fence for a grand slam — her 39th career round-tripper.
She added her 40th career blast later that day and now has six home runs in Syracuse’s last eight games. After a shutout loss to North Carolina State on Sunday, Watson will look to use her recent power surge to rejuvenate the Orange’s offense when Syracuse (13-18, 6-7 Atlantic Coast) hosts a doubleheader against Binghamton (12-10, 2-0 America East) on Wednesday.
“It’s more than just breaking a record,” said SU head coach Leigh Ross. “It’s kind of proving to yourself really how hard you can push and how good you can be.”
Watson’s perseverance through some nagging injuries this season has paid dividends, as the first baseman can now be regarded as the best power hitter in program history.
Alexis Switenko, who played for Syracuse from 2003–06, previously held the home run record. Watson’s two-home-run day gave her the school record with 20 games still left in her college career.
It was the second program record broken by a Syracuse senior in less than a month, as Shirley Daniels achieved the all-time stolen bases mark back on March 15.
“I think it’s really big for the program,” Watson said. “Just to have people consistently breaking records and setting new goals for other people to break.”
Watson’s selflessness and team-first mentality is something that defines her as not just a great hitter, but also a first-class teammate. It was no shock to Ross when the entire team was ecstatic for Watson since this young Syracuse team looks up to her.
That tendency to put herself second is why teammates such as Daniels think so highly of the first baseman. Even after breaking one of the program’s most notable records, Watson remained the same person many people have come to love.
“She’s a humble person, so she’s not going to be all cocky about it,” Daniels said. “She deserves it hands down out of anybody that I know.”
Similar to Sydney O’Hara during her no-hitter and Daniels before breaking the stolen bases record, Watson didn’t even think about making history as the 38-home run mark approached.
It actually wasn’t until Watson checked her Twitter feed that she found out about her feat.
“We had that week off, so it wasn’t really on my mind,” Watson said. “I had no idea until (SU Athletics spokesman) Greg (Szklany) tweeted about it.”
But it’s not just Watson’s new record that speaks for how much success she’s had this season. In her final year, Watson is batting .302 with a team-high 10 home runs, five more than the next-highest player on the team. She also leads the team in RBIs (26), total bases (61) and slugging percentage (.635).
“She’s just so powerful,” Ross said. “A lot of her mishits can still go out.”
If Syracuse is to get back above .500 in conference play and qualify for the ACC tournament, it will certainly need Watson’s bat to help them get there.
And for someone who’s meant so much to this program during the past four years, setting the program’s home run record is fitting as she heads into the last third of her senior year.
“For me personally, it’s big,” Watson said. “It just shows that all the hard work I’ve been putting in has paid off.”
Published on April 9, 2014 at 1:04 am