July 11, 2013
Duluth News Tribune
Duluth Denfeld softball player finds college home with UMD
By Louie St. George III
Having played for a perennial section softball contender at Duluth Denfeld, Mel Jarvi is used to winning, so her transition to a similarly successful program at Minnesota Duluth should be rather seamless.
Jarvi, a recent Denfeld graduate, committed to play college softball for the Bulldogs on Wednesday. She will join a team that went 41-13 and tied for first in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this spring.
“I’m used to being on teams that are successful, just having that want to win and being willing to do whatever it takes to win,” Jarvi said. Jarvi, an infielder, is part of a seven-player freshman class that includes Cherry outfielder Angel Dahl, a Minnesota Ms. Softball finalist.
A four-year prep starter, Jarvi said she initially planned to play at St. Scholastica, but when that fell through, she reached out to UMD coach Jen Banford. The two met and agreed there was mutual interest, and Banford had room for one more player among her cast of newcomers.
Offseason workouts start the end of this month, and Jarvi is anxious to meet her new teammates.
“I’m so thankful I got a spot on the team,” Jarvi said. “I can’t wait to get to know all the girls.”
In Jarvi, the Bulldogs will get a versatile infielder with outstanding range. She played both second base and shortstop in high school, including a year at Duluth Central before the school closed. Offensively, Jarvi was a career .395 hitter, and her 17 RBIs and eight stolen bases this spring led a Hunters team that went 16-3. She was a first-team All-Lake Superior Conference and All-Section 7AAA selection, as well as being named to the News Tribune’s All-Area Team and Academic All-State.
That last accolade comes as no surprise for the studious Jarvi, whose ambitious academic plan at UMD includes an alphabet soup of disciplines. She plans to study biochemistry, molecular biology and pre-medicine. Somehow, she’ll squeeze in some softball.
“It’s been my dream since I started softball to play for the Bulldogs, so it’s kind of surreal,” Jarvi said.