SDSU softball All-American Jenavee Peres brings extra tenacity to the table

by Meghan Lanigan, Staff Writer

Sophomore catcher Jenavee Peres had one heck of a freshmen season and is looking to do the same in 2016 for San Diego State’s softball team.

“My goal is just to produce for my team and do as best as I can, so we can get as far as we can,” Peres said. “We want to make history this year.”

The 2015 Mountain West Freshman of the Year begins the 2016 season as an All-American and MW Player of the Year candidate.

Peres’ .347 batting average in 2015 was good for third-best on the team, which is where she also placed in hits with 58. She was second in RBIs with 48, third in runs with 30 and tied for third in home runs with nine. Her on-base percentage was .411.

Peres helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2015 XI World’s Baseball Softball Confederation Junior Women’s World Championships.

“I just love playing the game,” Peres said.

“I just love that we all have the opportunity to just come out here and play because not everyone has this … this chance.”

The Aztecs finished second in the MW in 2015 with an 18-6 record and swept Boise State, Nevada State College and Utah State, and won five of their seven MW series.

Their two series losses came against Fresno State and San Jose State.

“Our conference is always tough, but I think we can pull it off,” Peres said, referring to playing well against San Jose State and Fresno State, two of the team’s biggest competitors. “I mean, I feel like we want to beat everybody.”

A possible source of that tenacity comes from a bloodline that includes her uncle Troy Polamalu, a former safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Peres had 73 at-bats in conference play and racked up 16 runs, 28 hits, 26 RBIs and five home runs.

She said her favorite game last year was in May against Texas State at the NCAA Regional in Los Angeles.

She homered in the seventh inning to tie the game and the team eventually won 4-3.

“That game was very high emotion, very intense,” Peres said.

Off the field Peres is majoring in criminal justice and also takes being a role model very seriously.

“I absolutely cannot express how much it inspires me just to do better in everything I do,” Peres said about young girls looking up to her.

Her 7-year-old sister also plays softball and wears the same No. 43 on her jersey, the same number their uncle Polamalu wore during his NFL career. 

Peres said her sister hit her first home run in her first at-bat and came up in the stands in the middle of the game to give her a hug.

That kind of moment reminds Peres to not hang her head after a bad game because she doesn’t want to be a bad example for young kids watching her.

Peres also played volleyball and basketball for Garden Grove High, just two hours away from SDSU.

Peres said she played basketball in high school, which helped her stay in shape for softball, but playing other sports did something else for her.

“Playing another sport away from softball makes your love grow for the game even more,” Peres said. “It goes by so quick.”

Being away from home can be hard for Peres, but she thinks the distance from her Garden Grove home to SDSU is just right.

“I feel like it’s the perfect distance where I can be my own person, but if I need to go talk to my mom about something, I can just drive home, hop on the 5 freeway and be there,” she said.

Peres didn’t want to dwell on her stellar freshman season, but she knows she made an impression.

“The more you put into the game the more you get back,” she said.