Jaycee Affeldt was a star ball player in the NCAA, represented her country on the world stage, and is Maple Ridge’s 2022 Hometown Hero.
Affeldt got her start in Maple Ridge minor softball, and also played with the Fraser Valley Fusion and Surrey Storm.
Both an elite pitcher and hitter, she was with the under-16 natonal team at the World Cup in Prague, Czech Republic, helping Canada to a fourth-place finish.
In 2011, Affeldt travelled with the junior national team to the World Championships in Cape Town, South Africa, where the Canadians finished fifth.
But her best memories on the ball diamond are with the Troy University Trojans in Alabama, where she spent four years as a player from 2012 to 2015, playing in the NCAA First Division.
She will be one of four athletes honoured at the annual Hometown Heroes Night – when some of the community’s greatest athletes are honoured – being held after a two-year absence on Oct. 12 at Garibaldi Secondary School. Brian Malfesi and Sara Hopkins are the 2020 inductees, Maggie Coles-Lyster for 2021, and Affeldt for 2022.
While at Troy, Affeldt made 130 appearances in the circle with 74 starts, 32 complete games, five shutouts and five saves. Through 539.2 innings, she threw 442 career strikeouts. Affeldt was named the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year finishing her senior season with a 2.65 ERA. She also earned First Team All-Sun Belt honors in 2015.
The Garibaldi secondary grad was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team as well as the NFCA South All-Region team for her performance during her senior season. Affeldt graduated from Troy in 2015 with a degree in broadcast journalism.
She started every game, either pitching or playing first base.
“It was the best experience of my life,” she said of playing at Troy. “It taught me so much about myself, and how to hold myself to a high standard.”
She said the lessons she learned playing NCAA ball are still with her in her personal life.
When her playing career was done, Affeldt followed it up with another four seasons of coaching. She volunteered at Troy as an assistant coach for a year in 2016, then went to the University of Alabama in Huntsville as a pitching coach in 2017. She helped lead the Chargers to a Division II NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017, and her pitchers won honours.
Troy was glad to get her back at her alma mater the next season, as she had become a coaching commodity.
“Our program is not only getting one of the top up-and-coming pitching coaches in country, but also a great person who loves Troy University and Troy softball,” said head coach Beth Mullins when she returned. “I know her impact will be felt immediately within our pitching staff and our program as a whole.”
Affeldt worked with pitchers in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and graduated with a Masters in Business Administration in May of 2019.
Now she’s coaching back home. Affeldt returned to her hometown Maple Ridge in 2019. She is coaching local athletes and players across the region, and is in the process of charting a new course in the field of sports psychology. Affeldt is working toward being a registered clinical counsellor, and working with athletes is a dream come true.
She missed Maple Ridge, and was humbled to get the Hometown Hero award.
“I’m so honoured and so grateful,” Affeldt said. “Maple Ridge has always been my home. I moved away for 10 years, but I’ve always been so proud of my home town. When I played in other associations, I never let my teammates forget I’m from Maple Ridge.
“I feel so blessed to be a Maple Ridge Hometown Hero.”
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