Jefferson’s Aidyn Messmann remembers vividly what it felt like when UW-Green Bay first reached out, expressing interest in her joining the softball program.
“It was the coolest thing ever,” Messmann said. “It made everything feel so much better for me. I didn’t go on visits anywhere else. Once I toured Green Bay, I knew it was my home and that it was awesome.”
Messmann, a senior, signed her National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play collegiate softball at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, an NCAA Division 1 institution, at Jefferson High School on Monday.
“Very excited for her,” Jefferson softball coach Mark Peterson said. “When I started coaching her freshman year, I didn’t know her. She jumped out right away that first day. It’s been exciting to see her grow the last three years. Very excited for her and her family. Two years in a row having a Division 1 signee in our program is pretty cool.”
Eden Dempsey, a 2021 graduate, is currently playing for the University of Wisconsin.
Messmann, meanwhile, admits the recruiting process was slow with colleges navigating cancelled seasons in the spring of 2020 because of COVID-19 and rosters in flux with all players being granted an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic.
Before hearing from Green Bay, Messmann, a two-year starter at catcher and WFSCA all-state honorable mention recipient this spring, started receiving interest from smaller schools. Messmann says the Green Bay campus reminds her of Jefferson.
“The campus isn’t the biggest place and is secluded by woods,” she said. “It felt like home, especially with Jefferson being a small town. Green Bay is a smaller school. The team is family oriented. If anything, they really overuse the word family, and that’s super important to me having the team be like family. They have everything I wanted. Green Bay is a cool city too with the Packers being right there.”
The Phoenix, who went 23-21 overall last spring and play in the Horizon League, are getting a player with a cannon of an arm behind the plate and a stellar approach at it.
“She receives the ball well, calls a good game, is athletic, has gotten better at blocking and can throw people out on her knees to any base,” Peterson said. “She shuts down run games. She doesn’t get many people caught stealing because people don’t even try to run. When you have solid pitching and solid catching in softball, you’re going to be in great shape. It really solidifies your defense.
“She gives us a quality at-bat every time. She’ll work the count, put the ball in play and can go to all fields. That’s the biggest thing that makes her a good hitter. She had an opposite field homer against Arrowhead this past year. She can hit singles and doubles and has power to all fields. She has a chance to do something big for you anytime she’s up to bat.
“I’m lucky to coach have coached her for four years in basketball. She’s a great athlete and great kid. She’s grown as a leader being a captain in softball and captain now in basketball. Proud of how she’s grown in both sports. Great competitor and a great kid.”
Messmann and her younger sister, Aeryn, motivate each other to take the next step in their games while practicing in the batting cage outside their house.
“Normally people have to go to school or someplace else to practice,” Messmann said. “For me, it’s right in my backyard. Aeryn and I can potentially be playing together this next year. She helps me and pushes me every day to get better every time we go out there. Having the chance to play on the same team isn’t something most siblings get to do.”
Messmann, who didn’t have a sophomore season because of the pandemic, hit .478, homering eight times while adding 14 doubles and driving in 39 runs during her junior season, which saw the Eagles post a 26-1 record and reach the WIAA Division 2 state semifinals. She admits the collection of other high-level Eagle players over the past several seasons have helped her blossom into the player she is.
“My progression as a player starts with all the good players I’ve played with. They’ve helped me grow,” said Messmann, who also plays for BATS Academy Fastpitch based in Mequon.
“Being a team captain at Jefferson has helped my leadership.
“I’m usually shy, but being a captain broke me out of my shell. Coach Peterson is an awesome coach. He’s helped me put the work in and helped me be a better player.”