By Lindsay Owens Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — ELNORA - Jodi Berry is known to many as the North Daviess varsity softball coach and the ND Elementary principal, but Berry, who will travel with her softball team to the Indiana Class A State Championship game Saturday, is much more.
A 1990 graduate of North Daviess, she went on to play volleyball, basketball and softball at Franklin College. “I only played volleyball one year,” said Berry, who according to statistics on the Franklin website, still ranks in the top 20 for rebounds on the basketball court and was listed as sixth in the country in the 1993 NCAA Division III standings for batting..
In 1994, Berry graduated with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with an English major, general math endorsement, and middle school endorsement but rather than heading straight into the teaching world, she headed to Illinois then to Michigan to start the tryout process for the U.S. National softball team. The national team would also be playing in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the first time softball would be played as an Olympic sport. “One more cut and I would have been on the national team,” she said.
Shortly after tryouts ended, Berry starting teaching and coaching at South Putnam near Greencastle and two years later, she found herself back at her alma mater where she has been ever since.
“I’ve been coaching at North Daviess for 18 years,” she said. “We’ve done a lot in that time.” In addition to her high school coaching duties, Berry has also been heavily involved in the Amateur Softball Association where her teams have won numerous titles, including a national championship in 2007 in addition to the numerous sectional and conference titles her high school teams have won.
North Daviess also has made one other appearance in the state finals. That appearance came in 2005, when members of the current team were in elementary school. “Some of our assistant coaches were on the 2005 team and some of our girls said they remember sitting in the stands watching that game,” said Berry, speaking of Liz Fitzgerald, whose sister Sarah is on the current team and Brooke Wittmer. “This will be a really neat experience for them to be on the other side of the fence this time.”
Looking back on the season, which started a bit rocky with four consecutive loses, Berry said her team has worked very hard to get to where they are.
“We sat down at the beginning of the year and had the girls do goals. Those goals started out small but we wanted to first get the conference championship and then win the sectional, something we hadn’t done in five years,” she said.
“If we would have had them re-evaluate their goals after sectional, we may have added others to the list.”
Berry said that preparing for the championship game is just like preparing for any other. “If it’s a team we aren’t familiar with, we try to get some info on them. We are really peaking at the right time and the sky is the limit for us. Our goal is to hit strikes in the zone and play solid defense but the important thing is, regardless of how the game turns out, the memories they are making will last a lifetime.”
North Daviess will play North Miami Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Indiana, channel 671 on DirecTV, channel 418 on Dishnetwork and New Wave channels 26 or 34 or HD channel 210.