JENISON – Thanks to some solid pitching, timely hitting, and the contributions of their younger players, the Jenison softball team is closing in on an OK Black Conference title this spring.
Jenison moved into first place in the conference with a doubleheader sweep of Kenowa Hills, May 9, that gave the Wildcats the conference lead with four league games remaining to be played.
With a number of tough non-league games remaining, along with the conference games, Jenison coach Kari Kossen likes the direction that her team is heading.
“In the softball circles, particularly with our non-conference schedule, our track record carries more weight than the win-loss record,” Kossen said. “I’m pretty happy with what we’ve done so far.”
Pitching, a staple of the Jenison softball program, has been a key to success once again this season. Freshman Emily Siler and junior Kaitlin Johnson form a strong one-two duo in the circle. Siler and Johnson have a combined conference record of 6-1 this spring and average six strikeouts per game.
Siler and Johnson also do plenty to support their own causes at the plate, as Siler is hitting .619 and Johnson is hitting .429.
Senior third baseman Emily Nott and sophomore catcher/outfielder Addi Hansen are also major contributors on offense. Bunt-slap specialists who can also hit for power, Nott is hitting .522, while Hansen is hitting .423.
Seniors Tabi Hill and Brianna Turmell, juniors Tony Freyling and Sadie Kaiser, and sophomores Evelyn Blood, Kelsey Bobeldyk, Emily Kellogg, Lauren Kunnen, Emily Mouat, Maddy Tripp, and Janna Schuurman provide the Wildcats with plenty of depth and versatility.
“We have a talented and versatile group of young players filling our roster,” Kossen said. “I’m confident in their abilities to play any position and bat in any circumstance.”
Along with battling for the league title, the Wildcats have taken on an ambitious non-league schedule to help them prepare for the playoffs. Jenison has taken on state-ranked teams like Wayland, Mattawan, Byron Center, and Rockford this season.
“Sometimes there’s a little mental letdown, but I really like the way that, even when we get down, they never give up and come back with a vengeance,” Kossen said. “If we can do those little things to eliminate the mental letdowns, everything will come together at the right time.
“It comes down to playing well at the end of the season.”