Strnad steady for Jimmies
Back surgery is a spooky proposition for any athlete, even a young guy.
After sitting out last season after going under the knife, the junior from Parker, Colo., has returned to play a key role for the University of Jamestown baseball team.
A long period of rehab was required, but the hard work is paying off.
“I feel pretty good. It’s still a situation where I’m rehabbing and trying to get even better, but it’s getting stronger,” said Strnad of the injury which was similar to a stress fracture. “It was a progressive thing where it just kind of built up. I needed to get it fixed.”
Strnad was the Jimmies’ shortstop in 2012, but sat out last season as West Fargo freshman Andy Young took over the position and showed promise, particularly offensively. But Young transferred to an Iowa community college, leaving the door open for Strnad.
“I don’t think anybody is surprised with how Rudy is playing. He was our starting shortstop two years ago, so we knew what he could do,” UJ coach Tom Hager said.
Strnad was known as a defense-first shortstop, but his offense has come a long way this season.
He owns a .339 batting average going into Friday’s home doubleheader against Dickinson State. He’s hitting out of the 2-hole in the Jimmie lineup and his speed on the base paths puts pressure on opponents. He leads the 28-6 Jimmies in stolen bases with 17 in 20 attempts.
“When he gets on the bases, he can cause a lot of problems,” Hager said. “It’s been nice to see him break out with some big games. It adds another dimension to our lineup.”
The Jimmies were scheduled to play Valley City State on Wednesday, but with the tragic accident on the Sheyenne River that claimed the life of Valley City State catcher Dan Buehner, those games were postponed. The Jimmies host Dickinson State (9-35) on Friday at 2:30 p.m. The two teams will play again Saturday in Dickinson.
Around the Diamond
r Freshman Landon Uetz leads the Jimmies in batting average (.421) and is second in runs batted in (32). Erik Peterson leads with 33 RBI. Uetz is from West Fargo and Peterson from Bismarck.
r Ryan Sheeley’s three scoreless innings on Tuesday against the University of Winnipeg lowered his earned run average to 0.92. The junior from Wahpeton has allowed just 11 hits and two earned runs in 19 2/3 innings.
r The Jimmies’ run differential for the season is plus-119. They’ve scored 245 runs and allowed 126.
r The Jimmies just missed climbing into the latest NAIA top 25 poll. They’re currently 26th with 73 points. Sterling, Kan., is ranked 25th with 153 points. Mayville State (32-11) sits 40th.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com