Eden Dempsey, Claire Beck and Brittney Mengel all have different games on the softball field.
Dempsey is an infielder who hits for power and can also play catcher. Beck is an ace pitcher and Mengel is a left-handed slap hitter with tons of utility.
They have one thing in common though: A relentless passion and work ethic for the sport of softball. The hours on the field recently paid off for the Jefferson trio as all three signed National Letter of Intents to play collegiate softball. Dempsey signed with UW-Madison, Beck is set to play for UW-Eau Claire and Mengel is headed to play at University Minnesota at Crookston.
“There’s a reason why all three of these girls have made it to this level,” Jefferson softball coach Mark Peterson said. “It’s because of the work they put in on the side.
“You don’t get to this point without the hard work and dedication.”
These three girls will be seniors on the Jefferson softball team this spring and they also all play for GTS, a traveling team based in Elkhorn. As sophomores, the trio helped the Eagles to a 23-4 record and a Rock Valley Conference title.
Dempsey will join a Badger softball team that went 43-14 during the 2019 season.
“(Dempsey) has a tremendous work ethic,” Peterson said. “Her passion is softball. She does softball 24/7 just like the other girls.”
Dempsey recorded 32 hits, to go along with 30 runs and 29 RBIs. She also connected on a pair of home runs during her sophomore campaign.
“I think she brings versatility to UW,” Peterson said. “She can play catcher, third, second and she can hit the ball well.”
Beck was a star in the circle for the Eagles in just her second season. She finished the 2019 season with an 18-3 record, posting an ERA of 1.85.
“Any time you have a solid pitcher in softball you’re going to be in good shape,” Peterson said. “She had a great sophomore season for us.”
Beck is set to join a Blugold team that finished second in the WIAC in 2019 with a 28-13-1 mark.
Offensively, Beck tallied 28 hits on the season, including 10 doubles and tied for second on the team with six home runs.
“She’s obviously a good hitter. She hits for power,” Peterson said. “She’s been a hard worker, softball is her passion. She puts a ton of time in.”
Like her teammates, Mengel has used the elongated high school softball offseason to sharpen her skills playing travel ball.
“She’s put a ton of work in to get stronger and faster,” Peterson said.
Mengel had 19 runs along with 15 hits in her sophomore season.
“What Brittney brings to the table is she is a left-handed slap hitter,” Peterson said. “She’s a very versatile hitter, can hit the ball to all fields. She’s a really good utility player at the playmaking positions.”
The trio missed out on their junior seasons after the COVID-19 pandemic took away last year’s high school softball season. If and when Jefferson comes back this spring, the Eagles will have three collegiate softball commits to help defend their Rock Valley Conference crown.
“I’m pretty lucky to have those three girls on my softball team,” Peterson said.