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EHT eighth-grader is a hit in the classroom and on the field

  • Sports

As a toddler, Jazlynn Santiago started playing around with a plastic bat in her grandparent’s basement, throwing up a little white ball and swinging for the fences. 

Not long after that she started accompanying her father, Guillermo, to his own baseball games. 

Guillermo’s nickname growing up was G.

So, the little girl hanging around the dugout became Little G. 

The name stuck, and now her friends and family affectionately refer to her as Gigi. 

Now on the cusp of eighth-grade graduation, she plays highly competitive fastpitch travel softball in tournaments up and down the East Coast.

While players don't get officially ranked until high school, coaches and recruiters rate her among the best not only in the state, but nationally. 

But Gigi doesn't just excel on the diamond.

At Fernwood Middle School in Egg Harbor Township, she is known to her teachers as an all-around great student. 

She has been Student of the Month twice, and gets straight As. Her favorite subject is math. 

When she grows up, she wants to become a veterinarian. She has already put a foot in that direction helping her parents care for their 1-year-old French bulldog, Rocky.

She likes to listen to music and hang out with her friends. She is decidedly not a Swiftie, but is partial to one of Taylor's favorite opening acts, former Disney television star Sabrina Carpenter. 

Not surprisingly, her favorite movie is the baseball film "Angels in the Outfield." Her favorite book is "The Summer I Turned Pretty," written by Jenny Han.

Jazlynn bats leadoff for the NJ Raiders-Pietrow 14U team out of Cherry Hill. She plays catcher and centerfield. 

Her preference is the outfield, but as the consummate teammate, she take the spot that best serves the team. 

She began her career wearing the number 00, but decided to switch to 18 in honor of her father, who played with that number while at Atlantic City High School and professionally with the Tucson Toros in the Independent League.

She recently she drove in four runs on two hits, one of them a three-run triple, to lead her team to a 13-0 win over the Hamilton Hurricanes. 

Being first up to the plate usually denotes you are the fastest player on the team, so it should come as no surprise that Jazlynn has recorded 29 stolen bases on 30 attempts. She is also a switch-hitter who can get on base and drive in runs from either side of the plate. 


As a catcher, her pitchers rely on her to call the game and talk them through tough situations.

“Gigi is the most fearsome double edge sword a coach can have on their team," said Raiders Coach Sam Pietrow. "She is one of the hardest outs in the lineup and a knowledgeable, hungry defender. 

"She sharpens both sides with her undeniable speed," the coach continued. "Locked in 100 percent of the time, she is a pleasure to coach. Not only is she a stellar athlete, but she is such a great kid. A player like Gigi is hard to come by, and I am blessed to be trusted with the growth of this athlete.”

An avid baseball fan, her favorite major leaguer is Justin Turner, who currently plays third base for the Boston Red Sox and won a World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. 

Her favorite softball player is Odicci Alexander, who starred at James Madison University and now plays professionally with the United States Specialty Sports Association Pride in the Women’s Professional Fastpitch League. She is a student of the game who enjoys watching the pros, always looking for ways to improve her own skillset.

This summer, Gigi will travel to Connecticut for Fast Pitch Nationals and then head down to Florida for the All-American games. 

She plans to attend Holy Spirit High School in the fall,  with the goal of being a four-year varsity letter winner and bringing home a state title for the Spartans.

A grand farewell to 12U 

Jazlynn's final at bat for 12 and under was a memorable one.

Sunday, May 19, 2024
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