Honors bestowed upon Jakki (Prater) Schneider over the past year have stirred cherished memories of her softball career for the former Nixa star.
She was named to the Diamond 9 class by the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame a year ago and was inducted to the Central Missouri State Athletics Hall of Fame in February.
"I felt extremely honored and proud," Schneider said of the honors. "But I don’t see them as awards for me. They're awards for me and my teammates, coaches and family. I worked very hard. But a lot of people in my life put in a lot of time with me. My Dad, my coaches, my family and a lot of other people gave me great support to reach those goals."
Schneider transferred to Nixa from Glendale in time for her junior year. The 2011 Nixa grad was sensational as a senior, compiling a .534 battings average and 36 RBIs.
Looking back to the summer of 2009, she felt her adjustment to Nixa went about as smoothly as she could have ever hoped.
"I was very thankful I had already played with a lot of Nixa softball players during competitive ball in the summer," Schneider said. "So, for softball it wasn’t a hard transition at all. But it’s always going to be hard to go to a new place in the middle of high school.
"I did every sport I could growing up. But softball and basketball were always the primary focus," she added. "I come from a basketball and baseball family. When I moved from Springfield to Nixa, basically I turned my whole focus to softball."
As for college ball, Schneider set 28 single-season and career records at Central Missouri. She is the Jennies' all-time leader in at bats (699), doubles (54), home runs (41), total bases (403) and RBIs (175). She finished with a .318 career batting average.
Schneider was a three-time All-MIAA selection and earned the Dr. Peggy Martin Award as the top senior female student-athlete for the Jennies. As a senior, she helped Central Missouri to an MIAA title and a trip to the NCAA Division II World Series.
"I loved it. Honestly, it was a home away from home," Schneider said of her Jennies career. "I had my troubles, like any kid, with homesickness. I’m a homebody, so I struggled a little bit. I’m extremely thankful coach Anderson and UCM helping me settle in and find my way. I looked at the local schools and visited Oklahoma Christian and Missouri Western. But nothing compared to UCM."
Looking ahead, Schneider is anxious to keep softball a big part of her life. She served as an assistant coach at Missouri Southern the past two years, after previously coaching at Joplin. She's hoping to get back to the high school ranks.
"The amazing thing about softball is it has opened a lot of doors for me. I love working with kids, that’s why I went into teaching in the first place," Schneider said. "I’m trying to get back into teaching and that will probably lead me back into coaching. I’m open to whatever. I’m trying to find my little niche."