Former Holy Name High star Jenny (Scavone) Collins went on to become Clark’s only softball All-American, garnered top conference and regional honors during her outstanding college career, and she remains the Cougars’ all-time leader in batting average.
For Collins, though, nothing was better than getting to play two seasons at Clark with her older sister, Holly, who was also a standout for the Cougars.
“Not many people get to say that,” said Collins, who with 168 career hits at Clark ranks fifth all time, one hit behind Holly.
Collins and her husband, Peter, live in Southboro with their 15-month-old son, Teddy, who is already on his way to a fabulous footwear collection. For the last 12 years, Collins has worked at Reebok (which is owned by adidas), and the company offers a lifetime discount for longtime employees like Collins.
“He’s got his Reebok kicks,” Collins said, “and we always kid around that this kid will wear nothing but adidas and Reebok.”
Collins is an account executive on Reebok’s U.S. sales team, a position that offers her flexibility and the opportunity to work from home. She previously worked in product development and marketing, and traveled the world, including frequent business trips to Hong Kong.
“I loved traveling,” Collins said, “but now, having Teddy, I appreciate being home more.”
For about three years, Collins’ job took her to Washington, D.C., which was great because Holly lived there, too.
Collins took advantage of Clark’s five-year program, earning her bachelor’s degree in business management in 2005 and her MBA with a minor in marketing in 2006. She played softball professionally for two seasons (2005-06) with the New England Riptide.
Collins, who grew up in Worcester, helped lead Holy Name to back-to-back Central Mass. Division 1 championships in 2000 and 2001 and was a T&G Super Team selection.
She continued to excel at Clark, and as a freshman in 2002, led the Cougars in batting average (.424), doubles (15), triples (8), home runs (2), slugging percentage (.720) and on-base percentage (.455) while also shining in center field.
She was named the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year and earned first-team All-America honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Collins repeated as an All-American in 2005 while also being named NEWMAC Player of the Year, and, while playing for coach Linda Wage, established herself as arguably the best Division 3 player in New England.
“I had amazing experiences at Clark,” Collins said. “Coach Wage was phenomenal as a coach and a mentor, and I made a lot of great friends that I still hang out with.”
Collins was inducted to the Clark Hall of Fame in 2012.
Collins helped the Riptide, which was based in Lowell and loaded with Division 1 talent, to the 2006 National Pro Fastpitch title.
“For me,” Collins said, “I was fortunate I continued to play post-college. Not many Division 3 kids are given the opportunity to play at a professional level. I made the most of it.”
After two seasons of playing pro, Collins considered continuing and maybe getting into teaching or coaching, but ultimately decided to go another way.
“After all those years of playing,” Collins said, “I felt like it was time to move on with my life. I thought maybe I wanted to go down the coaching path, and I applaud people who do go down that path. For me, it wasn’t in the cards. I missed (playing softball) that first year, and I thought, ‘What did I just do?’ But I ended on a great note with the Riptide. We won a championship, so that was a great way to end my career.”
Collins continues to give private lessons, which she has done since her Clark days.
“Now,” she said with a laugh, “I won’t lie, I’ll come home, and my arm kills.”
Because of the pandemic, Collins last gave lessons in mid-March. Friends have reached out to her about doing virtual lessons and also one-on-one sessions with masks. She said she is comfortable with that, but hasn’t scheduled anything yet.
Collins is best known for her success on the softball field, but she was a three-sport athlete (softball, basketball, soccer) at Holy Name, and also played soccer at Clark. In 60 career games for the Cougars, she finished with 25 points (11 goals, 3 assists).
“One of the things I try to instill (in the girls she coaches) is being an athlete,” Collins said. “While it’s challenging to make those decisions because everything is year round, I really encourage them to play multiple sports. I played three sports in high school and two sports in college. Yes, it was Division 3 not Division 1, but having that work ethic continuously and working on some sort of skill helped me in my other sports.
“Working on speed drills in soccer helped me running the bases and in the outfield in softball,” she added. “It’s hard because everything is year round, and kids have to pick, but I truly encourage them to play multiple sports if they have the opportunity.”
The most important thing Collins teaches her players is to have fun. That’s what she did throughout her career.
“I know that’s a cliché,” she said, “but I don’t think I would have played up until I was 23, 24 competitively if I was not having fun. Were there days that were harder than others? Sure, but you have to grind it out, put your head down and focus on what you want, what you can contribute and every day working hard.”
—Contact Jennifer Toland at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JenTandG.
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