Former Hilltopper Hefler leaves Lewis as one of program’s all-time greats
GLEN ELLYN – Having wrapped up her record-setting career at Lewis University in early May, Jayme Hefler has taken a bit of a hiatus from softball.
That is, except for playing on a 12-inch co-ed team in Carol Stream this summer.
“Other than slow pitch softball, I’ve kind of stayed away from it,” said Hefler, who started playing travel ball at 8 years old. “Right now, it’s a nice break. I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s been my life. But I’m sure I will miss it when I see my friends posting stuff about softball starting up. I’ll be like, ‘Oh man.’”
The Glenbard West graduate, who is working this summer for the Glen Ellyn Park District, is set to graduate in December after completing an internship at Wheaton Warrenville South this upcoming fall. An athletic training major, she already has logged close to 1,000 hours of clinicals (at Romeoville and Oswego high schools, among other places).
“I will be helping out with the different teams,” said Hefler, who also wants to get into coaching. “It will be nice and I won’t be driving all over creation.”
As for her previous team, the Flyers are left with a major void in center field. Hefler started 204 of a possible 210 games during the past four seasons, batting in the leadoff spot.
Her legacy is immense. Hefler ranks first or second in program history in seven offensive categories. But it goes beyond her ability to get on base to start an inning.
“Some of the greatest defensive plays I have witnessed in my 30 years of coaching at Lewis were at the hands of Jayme Hefler,” said Lewis coach George DiMatteo said. “I have been told many times by opposing coaches how glad they are to see Jayme graduating from Lewis. She had that kind of impact on the game.”
Not known for her power, Hefler knocked out her first collegiate home run, an inside-the-park round-tripper in the team’s opening game of the 2013 season in Florida.
“I hit a shot down the left-field line and it skipped into the corner,” Hefler said. “It was definitely a great moment for me. My teammates were going crazy. I gave the ball to my dad and said I never hit one over the fence but here you go.”
Quick to deflect credit, Hefler said the family atmosphere at Lewis played a big part in her career.
“It’s not just my parents and George and the other coaches I had the pleasure of sitting down with and talking to,” she said, “but my friends too, like my best friend Courtney Makowski (an infielder from Benet) and Michelle Vucsko (an infielder from Marist), who is one of the best players I’ve ever had the chance to share a field with.”