Even after her illustrious high school softball career came to an end, Washington Township shortstop Jess Hughes found more success.
On Thursday, Hughes was honored as one of 30 players selected to the 2015 CBS MaxPreps All-American Team.
“I found out around nine o’clock this morning,” Hughes said. “My principal (Joseph Bollendorf) retweeted it on Twitter and tagged me, that’s how I found out.”
The 18-year-old didn’t know the team existed until she discovered her presence on it. Her parents, Scott and Kim Hughes, texted her a screenshot of the roster and congratulated her soon after the announcement.
She then realized the gravity of the accolade.
“I knew it was a big accomplishment, but my parents told me, ‘You realize you’re one of the 30 best players and 11 best infielders in the country,’ ” she said. “That put it in perspective.”
Hughes, the 2014 and 2015 Courier-Post Player of the Year in softball, hit .564 and collected 46 RBIs for the best team in New Jersey.
She finished her high school career with a 100-15 record and the school’s all-time leader in hits with more than 200.
A two-time state champion, Hughes helped guide the Minutemaids to a 31-1 record in 2015. The season was capped with a Group 4 title when Township topped Bridgewater-Raritan 1-0 in early June.
“It’s so nice that we won (the state title), but if I could re-do it all without knowing if we’d win or not, I would still do it,” she said. “I just loved this season so much.”
Minutemaids’ coach Tracy Burkhart pointed to Hughes as the reason for her program’s return to state prominence.
“She had a huge impact on Washington Township softball the last four years and helped put us back on the map,” Burkhart said. “She’s meant a great deal and broke records that honestly I don’t see anyone else doing in the future.
“What a wonderful kid.”
On August 30, Hughes will begin the next chapter of her career at Fordham University. Until then, she’ll spend her summer at the job where she was on Thursday morning when the announcement was made.
Hughes works as a youth camp counselor at Total Turf in Pitman.
“A lot of my friends texted and congratulated me,” she said. “I’m just really shocked and happy.”
Mark Trible; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2014, 2015 Courier-Post Player of the Year
- 2015 CBS MaxPreps First-Team All-American
- Washington Twp. career hits leader
- 2013, 2015 Group 4 state champion