Strikeout StreetThree years ago, when Jimmie softball coach Kevin Gall first witnessed Kate Street on the mound, he knew she was a player that could make a difference. Dating back to her high school days at Florence High School (Mont.), Street knew how to win. She led the Falcons to three straight state championships and four straight state tournament appearances, but now she’s finding success at the collegiate level.
Three years ago, when Jimmie softball coach Kevin Gall first witnessed Kate Street on the mound, he knew she was a player that could make a difference.
Dating back to her high school days at Florence High School (Mont.), Street knew how to win.
She led the Falcons to three straight state championships and four straight state tournament appearances, but now she’s finding success at the collegiate level.
“I thought she would be somebody that would come in and help us right away,” Gall said. “She has developed her riseball over the last three years and really has a pretty good drop ball to go along with her fastball. She’s developed and worked hard on those pitches and has learned how to get college hitters out.”
The junior has gone 38-24 in her career with the Jimmies with a 4.10 ERA, but it didn’t come easy.
In Street’s first ever game pitching for Jamestown College, she was hit hard for seven runs in a losing effort against Robert Morris College, but the Stevensville, Mont. native battled back.
Street followed up her Jimmie debut with four-hit shutout against Iowa Wesleyan College that included six strikeouts and no walks to earn her first collegiate victory.
“I just settled down and realized I had a great team behind me,” she said. “No matter how I pitch, they’re going to be behind me. I kind of realized that we win as a team and lose as a team.”
From there Street continued to mow down hitters, finishing with an 11-7 record and a 4.95 ERA in her freshman campaign. She struck out 86 batters and held opponents to a .268 batting average throughout the year.
“It was a good accomplishment,” Street said of her first season. “I obviously couldn’t have won without my team behind me, so most of the credit goes to them. If they weren’t behind me I wouldn’t be a winning pitcher.”
The team finished 22-19 that year and 8-10 in the Dakota Athletic Conference behind the bat and arm of Street’s mentor — Justine Rechenmacher. The senior not only led the team with 26 RBIs that season but she was also the ace of the staff, finishing with a team-best 2.82 ERA.
“She kind of showed me the ropes and was very supportive,” Street said of Rechenmacher. “It was never a competition between us, it was more of her helping me out and letting me get settled into my role.”
Throughout the year, Street settled in nicely. But with a season under her belt, she had to take on a new role.
With Rechenmacher gone to graduation, Street was now the Jimmie’s No. 1 pitcher, a decision Gall would never look back on.
“She works hard at her craft and she really understands pitching,” said Gall, who is in his 10th year as head coach of the Jimmies. “She’s the kind of pitcher you want as far as demeanor, because she’s the type that’s not going to let anything bother her.”
Street has picked up 27 wins with a 3.68 ERA since filling the No. 1 position.
“Kate is kind of the leader of the pitching staff,” Gall said. “(Jimmie pitcher) Jessica Lees learned a lot from Kate. She’s not an emotional leader but she’s a leader by example.”
Street, who picked up her 13th win of the season Tuesday against Valley City, has been pitching with Lees for the last two seasons, and despite of logging 130 more innings than Lees over the last two years, she still doesn’t see herself as a veteran.
“I don’t really consider myself a veteran because Jess helps me out when I have problems and I help her out when she has problems. We just work as a team,” Street said. “Us being pitchers, we look out for each other and try and help”
Street has already left her mark with Jimmie softball, thus making this season’s conclusion — whenever that may be — difficult for the team.
Street, even though she is only in her junior year, will be leaving Jamestown College to complete her degree.
“I am going into Radiology, so I can’t finish my degree here,” Street said. “I’m heading to Rapids City, it’s a regional hospital. I will do clinicals and take some classes through the hospital.”
Looking back on her career, Street said she has been very happy with her time in Jamestown, but that’s not to say she isn’t open to the idea of winning a conference title or qualifying for the national tournament in her final go-around with the Jimmies.
“It’s going to be very tough,” she said of leaving. “Hopefully we finish out this year successful and make it a good three years. I will be happy if we can go out on a good note.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org