FDSH standout Adams commits to Iowa softball
Junior is already a two-time first team all-state selection
IOWA CITY — Jalen Adams officially gave her verbal commitment to the University of Iowa softball program last Friday.
Truth be told, though, this course was plotted in the mind of the Fort Dodge junior all-stater all along.
Adams pledged her collegiate future to Renee Gillispie’s Hawkeyes despite having two full years and a lot of innings and at-bats still to come with the Dodger softball program under her mother, head coach Andi Adams.
The fit — and timing — was just right now for the pitcher and infielder.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always had it in the back of my head that I would be a Hawkeye,” Adams admitted. “As I got older, I always kept my options open. But as soon as Iowa offered, I instantly said yes and I was so happy. I haven’t looked back since.
“It’s started to sink in a little that I’m officially a Hawk, but I’m just still so thrilled to be able to compete at such a high level. Playing college ball has been one of my biggest goals I’ve been working toward since I was little, so the fact that it’s finally happening is just amazing.”
Already a two-time first team all-state selection, Adams took Class 4A by storm this past summer as a sophomore, posting a 20-2 overall pitching record with an 0.88 earned run average. She recorded 164 strikeouts, and opponents hit just .130 against her.
At the plate, Adams batted .596 with a 5A-best 18 doubles and 59 hits. For the season, she ranked in the Top-5 of Iowa’s largest class in wins (1st), strikeouts (1st), starts (1st), doubles (1st), hits (2nd), innings pitched (2nd), singles (3rd), on-base percentage (3rd), WHIP (3rd), batting average (4th), and total bases (4th).
Adams also received looks from the University of Northern Iowa, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Augusta University, South Dakota State, Minnesota State and a handful of others. The Power-5 offer — especially being less than three hours from Fort Dodge — was simply too good to pass up at the end of the day.
“I’m beyond thrilled that my family and friends will be able to watch me play in person more, because so many people have helped me become the player I am. That means a lot,” Adams said. “I’m closer to home, so I can still see (everyone). That’s a huge plus. And I don’t know how long I’d be able to stay away from my (younger) brothers (Ty and Cael).”
Adams will be the third FDSH player to join the Iowa softball program in the last 25 years, joining Tammy Utley (1995 FDSH graduate) and Mallory Kilian (2015).
The Dodgers reached uncharted waters as a team in 2020, advancing to the Class 5A championship game for the first time ever with the state’s top ranking. Cedar Rapids Kennedy defeated Fort Dodge in the finals.
Adams, who has already completed three varsity seasons, continues to grow thanks to the bond she shares both on and off the field with her mom. Andi (Royster) Adams was an all-state player at Webster City High School, and an All-American at Buena Vista University. She is in the Hall of Fame at both schools, and the winningest coach in Dodger athletic history.
“I think what separates me most from other players is having my mom as a coach,” Jalen Adams said. “She is my biggest supporter, but she’s also the hardest on me. She never let me be content with how I was playing.
“She always pushed me to be better, and reminded me that there is always someone better out there. You always need to push harder than everyone else. She is (the reason why) I’ve loved the sport ever since I was little. There have been hard days, but she’s taught me to be optimistic about them and to know that one day it will all pay off. I’m so glad I listened to her, because she sure was right.”
Adams also thanked her father, Dan, who “is the real reason I’m an awesome player, because he’s the one that started me out when I was six years old … even though he struck me out, and I was sure it was on purpose.”
Gillispie took over the Hawkeye program in 2019 after 18 successful seasons at Central Florida. This past spring, before COVID shut the season down, Iowa carried a 17-5 overall record and was on pace to have its best season since 2009.