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Olivia Nihill can still bring the heat. Jamestown High School's No. 2 starting pitcher last spring came in and recorded the final seven outs for the Blue Jays in game 2 of Tuesday's West Region doubleheader against Bismarck High at Trapper Field. Jamestown rolled to victory 9-5, with Nihill collecting the save. "I'm always ready to come in," said Nihill, who is the team's full-time shortstop. "Payton (Gall) pitched great, they just needed me to close it out for her."
Not many collegiate-level newbies become immediate gamechangers as freshmen. But not only has Mikayla Frost been one of the brightest young talents on the field for the University of Jamestown softball team this spring, the Idaho native wasn't even swinging a bat a few years ago. "I was a soccer girl and now I'm a softball girl," said Frost, following the Jimmies' sweep of Valley City State University on Sunday at Trapper Field. "I actually started playing softball really late."
Hanna Dunnigan and the University of Jamestown softball team must have had this past weekend circled on the calendar. The Jimmies finished the regular season sweeping four games from rival Valley City State. The Jimmies cruised 8-1 and 3-1 on Saturday in Valley City, before rolling to 3-2 and 8-0 victories at Trapper Field on Sunday.
A sophomore goal scorer on a soccer team stacked with talented upperclassmen, Peyton Rudnick understandably let's her play do most of her talking. The up-and-coming forward posted her second career hat trick on Friday for Jamestown High School, finding the back of the net three times in a 6-0 victory over Grand Forks Red River at Rotary Field. The Blue Jays wrapped up the annual East/West Crossover at home with a 2-0 shutout of Grand Forks Central.
The Blue Jay softball team snapped out of its current funk in a big way on Friday in Mandan. Jamestown banged out 26 hits and pushed 30 runs across the plate in sweeping the Braves 15-2 and 15-3. The pair of West Region victories broke up an eight-game losing streak by the Jays. "We talked this week about getting those clutch hits when we have runners in scoring position," Jamestown coach Mike Soulis said. "We were patient at the plate and more selective, but at the same time we were aggressive on the pitches we wanted to hit."
Emily Reiten had gone three matches without a goal to start the high school girls soccer season. The brief drought ended on Thursday. The senior all-state striker found the back of the net, as did junior attacking midfielder Megan Gaffaney, in a 2-0 Jamestown victory over Bismarck High at the Bismarck Athletic Complex. The Blue Jays are still perfect, improving to 4-0. "Everyone else was scoring goals and I hadn't had any yet. I figured I had to get one soon," Reiten said. "I was getting kinda angry."
Blue Jay girls tennis coach Jordan Koushkouski was much happier with his team's effort on Thursday in Bismarck. Jamestown ultimately fell to Bismarck Legacy in a West Region dual 6-3, but the Jays' style of play was much closer to par after a rough start to the season. Jamestown (0-5 overall) dropped its home opener to Valley City on Tuesday 8-1, and was also blanked 5-0 in nonconference matches against Minot, Williston and Bismarck Century at the Minot Varsity Duals on Monday.
Playing shorthanded, Jamestown High School came up just short on the softball diamond in Bismarck. Bismarck High rallied late on its home field in both games of Tuesday's West Region doubleheader, walking off the Blue Jays in the final at-bat of both contests 5-4 and 3-2. But Jamestown coach Mike Soulis was impressed with the character the Jays displayed. Jamestown was without starting all-state centerfielder Mariah Wick and starting first baseman Joey Kleinsasser due to a school commitment. The Blue Jays are, however, currently mired in an eight-game losing streak.
Quinn Irey's walk-off home run on Friday in West Fargo instantly became Jimmie baseball lore. The junior catcher from Bismarck smashed a two-out, three-run liner just inside the left field foul pole in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the University of Jamestown to an 8-5 victory over fifth-ranked Bellevue University (Neb.) at Elmwood Park. The bomb came on an 0-2 pitch off reliever Max Dwyer and capped a come-from-behind, five-run ninth for the Jimmies.
Bellevue University stung the Jimmies not once, but twice on Friday at Trapper Field. The Bruins used a pair of seventh-inning rallies to come from behind and defeat the University of Jamestown softball team 5-2 and 2-1. The top two teams in the North Star Athletic Association will be back on the field today at 1:30 p.m. to wrap up back-to-back doubleheaders. "Yeah, it's like getting punched in the gut," Jamestown head coach Kevin Gall said. "But I think we can leave here knowing that we played two really good ball games and can play with anybody."