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Jessica Boulware: Former Cerritos High softball star inducted into college alma mater’s Hall of Fame

By Loren Kopff

Jessica Boulware, one of the best softball players in Cerritos High School history, was inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame last Saturday. The ceremony took place prior to FSU’s home opener against The Citadel.

Boulware, who was known as Jessica van der Linden during her days at Cerritos and at FSU, was one of seven players to be inducted in the FSU class of 2014. Among her many accolades and achievements as a Seminole, Boulware was the 2001 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, the 2004 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year and the 2004 recipient of the Honda Award for softball. She became the first player to receive both of those awards in the same season. Boulware was also a two-time ACC Player of the Year, becoming the first FSU player to achieve that feat.

“It’s definitely an achievement; very humbling to think what people would think about me,” Boulware said of the induction. “I’m very honored to have been voted in.

“It’s humbling in the aspect of…I had a great talent but just like any other athlete, I was one injury away from no longer being able to play,” Boulware continued. “I always took that attitude towards my sport. And, it’s a team sport. It’s not like tennis or gymnastics. I could not have achieved all of those accolades without having a great team behind me.”

Boulware said she received a call over the summer from former FSU head coach Dr. JoAnne Graf and almost didn’t answer the phone because she didn’t recognize the number. In fact, current FSU head coach Lonni Alameda called Graf and asked her to call Boulware.

“She informed me that I was going to be inducted in the Hall of Fame,” Boulware said. “The funny thing was that along with the excitement was pressure because I have an almost four-month old and I was like, ‘oh my goodness, I’m going to be in front of all of those people and I’m going to have to put it off’.”

Boulware and her family arrived in Tallahassee, FL last Thursday night and attended a banquet last Friday evening where she went through a question and answer session rather than give a speech. Among the highlights of that night was a video montage of her high school, college and post college career, which was put together by her father, Case.

Boulware, who played at FSU from 2001-2004, is currently in the career top 10 in Seminoles history in virtually every offensive category. She played in 295 games, which is first in school history and third most in NCAA history, first in doubles (50), runs batted in (161) and in walks (144) while third in batting average (.361) and fourth in hits (277). She hit a career-high .412 in 2003 and hit .401 the next season.

In the circle, where she dominated at Cerritos and again in college, she is in the FSU career top 10 in all seven major categories and struck out a school record 387 batters in 2004.

She compiled a 76-22 record at FSU and struck out 899 batters while walking 193. She guided the Seminoles to the NCAA Women’s College World Series in 2002 and in 2004. As a sophomore, she started against former La Mirada star Jennie Finch in an elimination game against the University of Arizona in which FSU lost 6-2 in 11 innings. The Seminoles finished as semifinalists in the CWS that season, the best in school history. Boulware was also selected as one of the top 50 ACC players all-time.

Boulware, who is married to former FSU standout and National Football League safety Michael Boulware, who played for the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings, has three sons (seven years old, three and almost four months) and a daughter (six).