Softball standout Jayme Callum of Peabody was born into a family of baseball enthusiasts, and her rearing has rubbed off in the right ways for Gann Academy of Waltham.
Spearheaded by a tenacious Callum, a defensively-gifted sophomore catcher who just wrapped up her second softball season, Gann seized the school’s first ever Independent Girls Conference League championship.
Just a year ago, Jayme’s first year with the program, it looked as though Gann was going to cancel its softball program for lack of interest. According to second year head coach Jim Nole, there was little interest in the sport in spring 2014. Eventually, the school was able to field a team in 2014 and be competitive, but Noles said Callum’s passion for the game, which he said he could see was already a part of her when they first met, was what drove the team to compete in 2014 and become champions a year later.
“Only eight or nine girls showed up at the start of the 2014 season, and Jayme persuaded the school to not shut down the program. We were able to compete and by this past year we had a team that doubled in size,” said Noles of Jayme’s effort. “Jayme knows how to make the game more enjoyable. Freshman year with her leading the way, we took it to another level as a team and we won some games behind her. She’s been well-schooled in the game of softball and we could see that since her first game freshman year,” said Noles.
Jayme’s mother, Susan Callum, is also a lover of softball and played the sport throughout her childhood, including stints at first base for Medford High School in her teen years. Her husband, David, is involved with the sport as well, facilitating a baseball camp in the summer. Susan said she’s seen her daughter’s mastery of the game developing since introducing her to softball as an adolescent.
“Jayme has always been talented at the game of softball, she’s been playing since she was seven years old and even played town ball and was named all-star for those teams,” said Callum. “She’s always been very determined, dedicated. She stands out because she always tries to achieve the best she can.”
In the championship-winning season, Jayme excelled in every statistical category while earning league MVP and regional honors from the Boston Globe as an all-scholastic, leading the team in every major stat while boasting an above .600 average at the plate, including sending away seven home runs.
“Head and shoulders, she’s the top hitter in the league. It’ll be rare to find a kid hitting one home run, so seven is dominating. She’s hands down the best hitter,” said Noles, who gave even more of a nod to Jayme’s defensive prowess behind the plate, noting that she trains extensively in the summer to prepare for the spring grind.
“She’s really in a league of her own at the catching position; from behind the plate, she’s in complete control,” he said. “Her skills at catcher will land her more opportunities with how she can control the game.”
Noles feels that with Jayme leading the way, Gann softball will continue to improve and win more. He also senses Jayme’s softball journey likely won’t end at Gann Academy.
“She’s at another level than most of the kids. She’s just like having another coach on the field. She clearly has a collegiate career ahead of her in softball.”