With a lightning-quick bat and track-sprinter’s speed, “setting the table” as a leadoff hitter comes rather naturally for Wilcox shortstop Deena Pederson. As for setting the dinner table at home? Well, perhaps that doesn’t come so naturally.
“She could set the table for her parents a little bit more,” chuckled Deena’s mother, Julie Pederson. “But she’s definitely helpful and pitches in around the house.”
As for softball, nobody set the table better than the Wilcox sophomore did this season. In fact, nobody hit better from any spot in the lineup in the De Anza league.
According to MaxPreps, Pederson led the league in batting (.583), on base (.611), slugging (.988), home runs (7, tied with teammate Adriana Martinez), runs (36, eight more than second place) and stolen bases (17, nobody else had more than 9).
She did all of that while playing just her second season as a full-time shortstop.
Pederson primarily played center field before high school. As for her offensive dominance, Pederson admits she was aware of her statistics, but tried not to think too much about individual numbers and personal accolades.
“I try not to look at the stats,” said the sophomore standout. “While the game does have all these numbers, it’s not about the stats. You wanna just play in the moment and play for your team. Only once in awhile do I check the stats over the past few games to see how I have been doing. But even if I were first or second in certain categories, I don’t want to have my own numbers in my head. I would rather make sure I just come up with the sacrifice fly to get the run home than ensure I add to my own numbers with a hit.”
Even with two years remaining in high school, Pederson and her parents have already started making college visits. Wise beyond her years, the 16-year-old said she’s focused primarily on choosing the right school for academics.
Pederson currently owns an unweighted 4.0 GPA. Her favorite subject is math and she is already in trigonometry as a sophomore.
“I definitely would like to play softball in college, but I also want to make sure I find the right school,” admitted Pederson. “I want to focus on my academics as well as softball. Definitely trying to look at schools where I could have a good balance of both.”
Pederson hasn’t decided yet on a college major, but is leaning towards some form of engineering. That said, mom and dad fully support her keeping her options open, focusing on academics and continuing to explore her other interests.
“It was really fun to watch her run track and do something different,” remarked Ted Pederson, Deena’s father. “I think it was a healthy mental break and physically doing something different. We really appreciate [softball Head Coach] Laura Stott letting her take some time off to compete in track.”
“Deena definitely puts academics first. She wants to go to the right college for her education first and foremost,” added Pederson’s mother. “And if it so happens that she can play softball there too, that would be amazing.”
Wherever Pederson does decide to go to school, one thing is for certain: if she ends up moving for college, she will only have to worry about the the kind of table setting that comes naturally: crushing baseballs and stealing bases.