Southern California's High School Sports Blog

PGF Spotlight: Jersey Intensity’s Julie Rodriguez

UCLA-bound Julie Rodriguez of Northern Valley Old Tappan and Jersey Intensity. Photo/northjerseysports.com.

Julie Rodriguez might be tiny in stature, but the three-time FloSoftball All-American is mighty at the plate.

Rodriguez, a 5-4, 120-pounder, was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for New Jersey after leading Northern Valley Old Tappan of Old Tappan, NJ, to its first State Sectional title in 33 years during her senior year.

The UCLA-bound outfielder, who only struck out three times during her high school career, is one of the best hitters in the nation and the best hitter Jersey Intensity has ever produced, according to Jersey Intensity chief Kevin O’Donnell.

Go inside the “PGF Spotlight” to learn more about one of the top players in the nation.


PGF SPOTLIGHT: JERSEY INTENSITY’S JULIE RODRIGUEZ


Julie Rodriguez of Jersey Intensity. Photo/Rodriguez Family.

Name: Julie Rodriguez

High School: Northern Valley Old Tappan High of Old Tappan, NJ

Club Team: Jersey Intensity-KOD

Graduation Year: 2017

Height, weight: 5-4, 120

Position: Outfield

Nickname(s): Jrod

Twitter: @JulieRod3

Season Stats: She was 47 for 73 for a .644 average with 16 doubles, five triples, seven homers, 38 walks (mostly intentional) for a .766 on-base percentage during her senior season at Old Tappan.

Honors: Three-time FloSoftball All American and Gatorade State Player of the Year for New Jersey.

What can we expect from your team this summer? My team is coming back strong and with a chip on our shoulder. We didn’t do as well as we had wanted in Colorado or California last year, but we worked very hard and are ready to make a run. We are coming back with a lot of seniors and we have great team chemistry. Expect the Intensity to make a statement this year in nationals.

What have you learned about yourself in the past year? In the past year, I’ve grown as a player and learned how to deal with adversity. I’ve learned that the best way to control my emotions is to not get so caught up in the past and focus on the present moment. I’ve learned how to carry myself in order to be a better leader. This is something that high school helped me with because by pitching in high school and being the main hitter, I was in control of most of the game and had to motivate the girls to work behind me.

Jersey Intensity-KOD will be one of the top contenders at the 2017 PGF Nationals. Photo/Joe Briden.

Who is the most underrated player on your team? I think Gianna Boccagno is our most underrated player. She is an amazing catcher going to Boston College. I’ve never seen someone with such a sneaky throw. She fools me all the time with her pickoffs to any base. I’m always impressed with how confident she is in her throws.

What is something you have faced in your life that has helped you become the person that you are today? When I fractured my thumb my junior year, I changed a lot as a person. It was a trivial injury that ultimately took me away from my team in the postseason. However, during this time I learned how to lead and coach. It made me into a better person because I couldn’t be selfish. My entire thought process during games had to be strictly about the team and winning.

What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you? I think people would be surprised to know that I am a girly girl. I act mean and tough on the field and am very intense when I play. However, off the field I love getting dressed up and I love to draw and bake.

Which colleges showed interest in you and what was the reason that ultimately landed you at UCLA? Before I committed to UCLA, I had looked at University of Florida and had a trip planned to Stanford. However, UCLA had been my dream school my entire life, so once they offered I accepted and never looked back at any other schools.

What do coaches say they like most about you and your game? Coaches say they love how I lead and am vocal. They also say that I am a very versatile player.

What’s been the highlight of your athletic career so far? Honors-wise receiving Gatorade Player of the year was the most amazing blessing thus far. However, on the field my favorite moment was hitting a home run against my high school rival (Demarest) after having been intentionally walked every single at bat until my first at bat of senior year. We ended the game up by one and I was never pitched to again.

What’s the scariest thing in the world? I think the scariest thing in the world would be having someone I love pass away.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Treat every practice like a championship. Your competitiveness and heart will take you far.

Favorite Pro Athlete: Steph Curry.

Favorite movie: “Wedding Crashers.”

Favorite song/artist: “Unforgettable” by French Montana and Chainsmokers.

Favorite TV Show: “Friends.”

Favorite motto or philosophy on life: Leave no doubt. They think you suck.

(NOTE: Report news and notes to So Cal Sidelines editor-in-chief/softball writer Carlos Arias via email (carlos.arias@socalsidelines.com), text (949-606-3602) or Tweet (@SoCalSidelines))

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